Why you have to wait 15 days to trade on Steam

Steam users can do more than just purchase games on the marketplace. There are also several social features for users to engage with. One social feature is trading with other Steam users for items in their inventory. However, trading is not available for all games, as many don’t contain tradable items.

For example, Valve games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 have items you can purchase in crates or trade for money. Steam has a feature that protects you from scams by holding items in the trade whenever an account is unprotected.

Method – How to enable Steam Guard on desktop

  • First, open the Steam desktop app.
  • Click your profile at the top.
  • Press “Account details.”
  • Look for “Account Security.”
  • Press “Manage Steam Guard,”
  • Choose the phone or email option.
  • Wait 15 days for the trade hold to pass.

Method – How to enable Steam Guard on mobile

  • First, open the Steam mobile app.
  • Sign in with your account details.
  • Press the menu icon on the left.
  • Click “Steam Guard.”
  • Click “Add authenticator.”
  • Enter the code sent to your phone.
  • Take note of your recovery code.
  • Your device is now your Steam authenticator.

Content list

Why you have to wait 15 days to trade on Steam

Steam allows users to trade with others for items in their inventory. However, because of security issues in the past, Steam forces users to authenticate using Steam Guard to ensure the person using the account is legitimate.

There are several games you can trade items from. The most popular titles include Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike Global Offensive. But you may have heard that you have to wait 15 days to trade with new or existing accounts. That rule is in place to reduce the risk of scams.

How to deal with a Steam trade hold

A Steam trade hold is when a user trades items on Steam, and Steam holds the items to protect them during a 15-day process in case your account is compromised. Steam does this after both users accept the deal to prevent scams. However, if you don’t use Steam Guard and trade with a friend you have known for over a year, the trade hold is one day. Since Steam has a market to list items, Steam must have methods to protect the items and accounts from thieves, so Steam holds are necessary for users who don’t use an authenticator like Steam Guard. One method to remove a trade hold requires users to activate Steam Guard. Even then, your items will be held for up to 7 days.

What is Steam Guard

Next, I will discuss Steam Guard and the feature’s purpose. Stream created an authentication system in 2011 in response to user security complaints to protect user accounts from unwanted access from hackers and scammers. In the modern age, people can steal your login details through phishing scams. Authenticators prevent people from signing into your account without a unique code. This level of protection is mandatory, as you can lose your account easily without an authenticator. While you may not like having to enter a code whenever you sign in to another device, it is a necessary safety precaution.

Positives and negatives of Steam Guard

Next, I will discuss the potential positives and drawbacks of using the Steam Guard feature, and then I will cover how to active Steam Guard on your device. There are a few disadvantages that Steam Guard has, but the advantages outweigh the negatives in terms of account security,

Positives of Steam Guard

  • The most beneficial advantage of using Steam Guard or other authenticator apps is their protection against scammers and hackers who would access your account full of items in your inventory. Using an authenticator, you must provide a security code whenever you use your account details to sign into another device. This prevents users from acquiring your details and simply accessing your account.
  • Another positive of Steam Guard and other authenticators is they allow you to trade on Steam without limit. Without using an authenticator, Steam will hold your items in limbo for up to 15 days as they want to ensure your items are safely traded without suspicious activity.
  • Steam Guard is helpful if you use Steam on mobile as it doubles as an app version of Steam and an authenticator. The Steam mobile version allows users to access the limited Steam store and community features and provides security codes.

Negatives of Steam Guard

  • Despite the positives, there are a few negatives to Steam Guard. First, you may find it annoying to access an email or message containing a code whenever you access Steam on another device or browser.
  • Also, changing your details can be difficult on Steam Guard.

How to enable Steam Guard

Next, I will discuss accessing the Steam Guard option on the desktop app.

  • Start by opening the Steam app and click your profile at the top.

First, open the Steam app using the app icon or searching on your device. Then, find your profile icon.

  • Then, press the “Account details” option.

Choose the “Account details” option. This will display a list of options that change your account.

  • Scroll down and find “Account Security.” Then, press “Manage Steam Guard.”

Find the “Manage Steam Guard” option by looking for “Account Security.”

  • Finally, choose an option from this list.

Choose the phone or email option, and Steam will set up Steam Guard.


To conclude, Steam suggests users activate Steam Guard or another authenticator to protect their accounts. Users who don’t activate this feature will suffer when trading items on Steam because Steam holds items in trade for up to 15 days as protection in case an account is compromised. The only way to get around this is to activate an authenticator like Steam Guard.

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