What is a trade hold in Steam?

Steam is a gaming platform that allows users to trade games, in-game items, and trading cards. But there is a security feature in trading called a trade hold, which we will discuss in detail in the article. So please continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the trade hold in Steam.

Steam places trades in a 15-day hold to protect your items in case your account is compromised. If you activate Steam Guard after making a trade, Steam will place your items in a 7-day trade hold. And with Steam Guard enabled, your trades will complete instantly.

How to enable Steam Guard on the desktop app:

  • Start by opening Steam on your computer.
  • Next, press your profile icon at the top.
  • Click “Account details.”
  • Scroll to find “Account Security.”
  • Click “Manage Steam Guard.”
  • Choose email or phone.

How to enable Steam Guard on the mobile app:

  • Open Steam on your mobile device.
  • Enter your log-in details.
  • Click the button in the top left.
  • Press “Steam Guard.”
  • Press “Add authenticator.”
  • Enter the code required.
  • Record the recovery code.

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What is a trade hold in Steam?

Item trading for games like Counter-Strike is a common practice in the Steam community. And since Steam allowed trading, account security has become a top priority to prevent scammers and hackers from stealing game inventory.

Steam introduced Steam Guard in 2011 to authenticate users so that trades can complete instantly. But users without account authentication will be placed in a “trade hold,” which holds items for up to 15 days. This holding period helps ensure that trades are made legitimately and encourages users to set up Steam Guard to protect their accounts.

How to deal with a Steam trade hold

Since some new and existing accounts don’t have Steam Guard enabled, Steam will limit your inventory trades with other users by making Steam hold your items. Steam holds items for up to 15 days, which for most users is annoying but acceptable because Steam is doing it to ensure account security and safe trading between the community. This can be annoying to some users, so people may want to know if there is a way to remove the Steam trade hold.

Since the trade hold exists for security reasons, the method for preventing trade holds in Steam is to enable Steam Guard. It is important to know that activating Steam Guard before a trade is essential, as if you trade and then activate Steam Guard, you will have to wait up to 7 days.

What is Steam Guard

Steam Guard is a security authenticator on the Steam app that provides users with security codes when they access Steam on another computer or browser. The authenticator was introduced in 2011 to provide more security to user accounts as several people complained that there was a lack of security if people had their accounts hacked.

Positives and negatives of Steam Guard

Next, I will cover the positives and negatives of Steam Guard. In general, you should activate Steam Guard, as the added layer of security reduces the risk of hacking.

Positives of Steam Guard

  • First, the best advantage of Steam Guard and other authentication apps is their protection. Steam Guard provides security against users who access your account from nefarious means by forcing you and others to provide security codes when you access another computer or Steam through a browser. The positive security outweighs the negatives as it only takes a few minutes to protect your account against hackers.
  • Next, Steam Guard and other authentication apps allow users to trade without waiting for Steam trade holds, keeping your items for 15 days before they arrive. This is good for users who like to trade items for games like CSGO and Teams Fortress 2, as they contain crates and items you can trade.
  • Finally, Steam Guard is essential if you use the mobile app as it provides security and allows you to securely access the app to view the Steam store and community features.

Negatives of Steam Guard

  • There aren’t many negatives to using Steam Guard or having another authenticator protect your account as they are intended to provide account security. The main negative could be how time-consuming and annoying it can feel to have to give a security code by visiting your email or phone.
  • The other negative is changing your details can feel annoying to do as you should disable the authenticator beforehand.

How to enable Steam Guard

Finally, I will go through enabling Steam Guard on the desktop app.

  • First, find Steam and open it. Then, click your account at the top.

The first step is to open Steam using your computer search bar or the app icon. Then, access your account profile.

  • Next, click “Account details” to view your profile options.

After clicking your profile, press “Account details.” This page displays options you can visit that affect your account.

  • Next, scroll to find “Account Security.” Then, “Manage Steam Guard.”

Next, you should look for the Steam Guard option by scrolling until “Account Security.” Then click “Manage Steam Guard.”

  • Finally, click where you want to receive security codes.

Choose where Steam will send security codes. This is our account email or phone number.


In conclusion. Steam allows users to trade items on the marketplace and with others. However, suppose you don’t have the correct account security, including Steam Guard or other authentication. In that case, your account has a more challenging time trading, as Steam will put your items on hold if you have Steam Guard disabled. This means until you activate Steam Guard, your items will take up to 15 days to travel for security reasons. It is recommended to activate Steam Guard before trading, as it provides security for your account and will trade instantly. If you activate after trading, it will take up to 7 days to trade.

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