How to Add Friends on Steam Without Paying? (The Basic Guide)

Lindsay Hayes

Steam doesn't let you add friends to your account unless you've spent at least $5 in the Steam store. Your account is considered to be a "limited account" when it is like this. If you're looking for how to add friends on Steam without paying, there are three ways to do this: by using a quick invite link, the profile URL, or a friend code. This will give you the option to add friends, even with limited accounts.

Steam is the most popular platform for PC games and with its huge library, there are several free-to-play options. So, it sucks if you're not planning on spending money, but you find out you can't add friends unless you do. When I first started using Steam, I was only playing free games like Team Fortress 2 and didn't want to buy anything, yet I wanted to make friends, leading me to find an answer.

So, if you're looking for how to add friends on Steam without paying, this guide will show you how to do that. Let's get into it.


How to Add Friends with a Limited Steam Account?

If you're yet to spend $5 in the Steam store, your Steam account will be limited. This means that you won't be able to use certain community features on the platform, at least until you buy a game or add money to your Steam wallet, either with a value of at least $5.

Whether you're playing on your computer or gaming console, it sucks not being able to make new friends when gaming online. That's why this Steam stipulation can be so frustrating.

The good thing is, despite this situation, there are still three ways that you can add friends on Steam without letting go of any cash. Basically, they all involve having the friend send the friend request instead of you. Keep in mind that this means the friends you want to add have to be non-limited Steam users.

Female Playing a Computer Game with a Joystick

Normally, you'd use the search bar on the Friends page, type in your friend's username, and then click "Add Friend", but limited accounts cannot be found through the search. This means that you have to use other routes.

The options you have involve using a quick invite link, a friend code, or the person's profile URL.

Using a Quick Invite Link

Using a quick invite link is the easiest way that you can add friends on Steam with a limited account. Your friend with the full Steam account will have to do most of the heavy lifting.

Here are the steps that your friend has to follow:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Hover your mouse over your account name in the navigation menu.
  3. Click "Friends".
  4. Here, you can either choose "Add a Friend" from the left panel or the green button on the right side.
  5. You should see a section with the heading "Or send a quick invite". Copy the link in the text field there. Keep in mind that if this link is used, you'll need to use the "Generate new link" button before you send the quick invite link to a second person.
  6. Using a messaging app, send the quick invite link to the person with a limited account. That's all that the non-limited user needs to do.

Now, as the person whose Steam account is limited, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the quick invite link in your web browser.
  2. Sign into your Steam account if necessary.
  3. At the top of the browser window, you should see an "Invitation to connect" prompt.
  4. Click "Add as Friend" and that's it!

Using a Friend Code

Alternatively, you can use a friend code to add friends without paying. This method isn't so different and you might prefer it to using an invite link, especially because it can let you add friends in bulk instead of sending an individual invite link for all of them.

In this case, you will have to send your friend code to your full-access friend. They will then use this code to search for your profile and add you.

Here's what you have to do to find your friend code:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Put your mouse over the menu item that is your account name.
  3. Select "Friends" from the list.
  4. Click "Add a Friend" from the left menu.
  5. The first entry should be "Your Friend Code". Copy that code.
  6. Use a messaging platform to send your code over to your gamer friends on Steam.
Gaming PC, Headphones and Gaming Gear

Now, it is up to them to add you. They should follow the first 4 steps that you just did. However, instead of copying the code that's there, they should paste it into the search bar right underneath it.

This will bring up your Steam account. They will then click "Send Invite" to send one your way. All that's left to do is to accept it from your side.

This is easy because you will now have a green notification icon at the top of your Steam window. Click on it and accept all your pending friend requests!

Using Profile URL

Since friends can't find limited users in the search on Steam, you can use an alternate method to let them locate your profile. That's by using your Steam profile URL.

Every account on Steam has a unique profile URL that can be used to directly access that person's profile page.

Whether you're using Steam in your browser or through the Steam app for your desktop, all you need to do is click your account name in the menu and copy the web address.

If you don't see the address bar in the desktop app, you can right-click any blank space on the page and choose "Copy Page URL".

Now that you have it, send it to your friends on Steam. Once they open the link, they will be taken straight to your account where all they need to do is click the "Add Friend" button.

Once you accept it from your account, that's it! While you can't send friend requests, you can certainly accept them!

What Are Limited Accounts on Steam?

To protect the Steam community from bots and spam, new Steam users are unable to add friends on Steam until they spend money on the platform: $5 to be exact.

Whether you add money to your Steam wallet or buy a game, as long as it costs more than $5, your account will gain full access.

We know that you can't add friends on Steam while you're limited, but what else can't you do? Well, here's a list of some of them:

Woman Playing Video Game Using Joystick

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Final Words

Adding friends on Steam can be done, even if you have a new account that hasn't spent money on the platform. The key is that while adding friends is impossible for you, other friends can send you a friend invite. To do this, they will have to send you their invite link, you send them your friend's code, or you get your profile URL for them to use.

When your account is limited on Steam, you can play games that you have, but you won't be able to use so many of the awesome community features. Clearly, adding friends won't work, but you also can't trade community items, gain levels on your profile, start groups, post regularly in the forums, or vote on Steam Workshop entries. These are just some of the privileges only allowed to a full account.

Was this article able to show you the trick to adding friends on Steam without paying a dime? If this worked for you, you should check out our other articles. You can learn so much more.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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