Steam account limited? Find out why and how to gain access to all Steam features

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 27, 2012
Updated • Apr 3, 2016

Steam is probably the most popular gaming platform on the PC right now offering not only a game store and means to launch games from a single client but also community elements that include a friend system, groups and chat among other things.

Some Steam users may have noticed that a handful of Steam features are not available to them. When a Steam account is limited, users are unable to send out friend invites or initiate chat sessions. Several other features are still available, including accepting chat sessions, being added as a friend or the creation of community groups.

To verify that a Steam account is limited, you could try to start a chat session with an existing friend or send out an invite to a new person on Steam. You could also try voting on Greenlight or participating in Steam Market.

Steam Account Limited

Valve has implemented limited accounts to protect the user base from spammers and abusive users. If the system would not be in place, those users could simply create a Steam account and start messaging and inviting Steam users without limitation. To avoid this, limited accounts were introduced.

Every Steam account is limited by default until at least one purchase is made in the store. A purchase includes a direct purchase in the store, the registration of a paid game in the account using a game serial number or a microtransaction in a game.

Here is the full list of transactions that remove the limited status from an account on Steam:

  • Add $5 or more to the Steam Wallet (equivalent in other currencies) either directly, or by using a Steam Wallet card.
  • Purchase a game on Steam for $5 or more.
  • Purchase a gift on Steam that has a value of at least $5.  Receiving gifts does not count.

Once has a purchase has been made, the account stops being limited and becomes fully functional on Steam.

Limited Account: features that are unavailable

You cannot remove the limitation by downloading game demos, adding non-Steam games to your library, adding retail games to the library, adding promotional games that come with hardware such as video cards to the library, making use of promotional items like free weekends, or playing free to play games like Team Fortress 2.

The following features are not available for gamers with limited accounts:

  • Sending friend invites.
  • Using browser or mobile chat, or opening group chat.
  • Voting on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items.
  • Using Steam Market.
  • Gaining Steam levels or Trading Cards.
  • Submitting content to the Steam Workshop.
  • Posting frequently in the Steam Discussions or Steam Workshop Discussions.
  • Adding public artwork or screenshots.
  • Accessing the Steam Web API.


Closing Words

Gamers who just installed Steam to play a free to play game like Team Fortress 2 and those who have bought a retail game are the most likely candidates for noticing that some of the software's features are not available to them. The easiest way to get around this is to either purchase a discounted game or make an in-game purchase to enable all social features on Steam.

You could also add $5 to your Steam wallet either directly or by using a Steam Wallet card to do so.

A limited account should not be confused with a suspended or banned account.  Accounts may be suspended for a variety of reasons, including piracy or hacking, payment fraud, sharing accounts, or buying, selling or trading accounts.  Steam users who try to log into a suspended account see the following error message when they try to do so.

It reads:

Steam - Contact us

Steam Support has suspended this account

Accounts typically become suspended when an account has been accessed by someone else, or a payment dispute is in progress.

Please contact Steam Support to resolve this issue.

You find additional information about limited and suspended accounts on the Steam Support website.

Steam account limited? Find out why and how to gain access to all Steam features
Article Name
Steam account limited? Find out why and how to gain access to all Steam features
Information about limited accounts on Steam including how to lift the limitation, and the features unavailable to limited accounts.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. DIEHL said on December 23, 2018 at 8:34 am


  2. meet said on January 23, 2018 at 8:56 am

    My account is still limted even after i have added 5$ to my account can anyone help me with that ??.

  3. bvb said on October 11, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    valve is greedy ,was and will source 1 i could play dota 2 with all of its fecture but in reborn they chat ban people who are limit,i scare this game become P2P with F2P lable.

  4. It's bad said on June 7, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    I’d rather add my friends possibly be spammed by bots than pay £3.50 for a game I may not even want

  5. Does it matter? said on May 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I can’t play games with my buddies or add them because I can’t get a steam wallet card or pay via credit card in Bangladesh xD

    I thought valve was better than this.

  6. happy1 said on February 22, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    you guys do realise this is for stopping spamming bots, scammers to make scamming accounts and so on

  7. Aniq said on December 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    fuck this steam i also had unlimited account but after few months it becomes limited

  8. effsteam said on August 10, 2015 at 8:09 am

    yeah, never buying anything from them after this. Just want to play some free game with my niece and nephew but we cant even play in the same lobby due to this shit.

  9. emile said on July 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    agree with this guy ^ just kinda spiteful like that…

  10. xxxx said on April 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    money money money … i thought to buy something in the steam shop before i read this “limited user bu##sh##” and now i never will give them a cent …

    1. emile said on July 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      agree with this guy^ just kinda spiteful like that… not complying to no cash grab

  11. yognaughtsteve said on March 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    my friend bought civ v and still cant get steam friends

  12. Please HelpMe said on January 10, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Hello m8s…. Okay i could add anyone on steam but what is that!!!!???? limited accounts …***** steam ok? if you cant play games is aint cool well i dont want to buy anything just to play some free games…..(PLUS) i tried to buy gtav once a time and what i got? CANT LOG IN INTO STEAM………………..Well i was about to explode dat time so. Just delete steam for me ok>.? Dont reply its just a rage chat XD

  13. George said on July 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Well I had a steam account where I had bought 4 games and the full version of TF2, but I also had to create my brother an account on my laptop, so I logged out of steam and created my brother a profile on my laptop. When I logged back into steam I hadn’t got my nickname, none of my friends on Steam were there anymore, I couldn’t make a discussion or vote greenlight games and the usual things I did with a limited account. Could anyone explain whats happened and how I could get m account back?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Well what happens when you try to sign in to your account?

      1. James said on December 31, 2020 at 4:50 am

        Hey, new steam user here. I just got steam and tried to purchase a couple of games because of the recent steam sale. However, about two ish hours later, my account was locked and all of my purchases were refunded.

        I thought it might be because of my “limited account,” but I can’t even make purchases on my account right now, so I’m unable to remove the limitations.

        Can someone explain to me what the problem here is? And what could have prompted this to happen.

        And if my account is locked because I’m a new account, what is the usual time that I need to wait for it to be unlocked?

      2. dinesh said on March 27, 2015 at 10:01 am

        i had a steam account for two weeks or so but all of a sudden the account got limited and not able to send or receive friend requests what should i do….

  14. tx3000 said on March 10, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Sorry but this limited account crap isn’t to stop Spam as they claim anyone can stop that with Block. Steam must legally say that so they cannot get sued.

    The real reason Steam is really doing limited accounts for is so they can weasel money out of people so that people think they’re paying to use something that is actually free.

    If you read what Steam’s service actually says on their main page it says join steam for free, and no where does it mention that you need to pay to get parts of the free account activated. It only gives all the stats on what’s included which is actually illegal. NO service and or company is allowed to falsely represent any type of their service whether it’s free or not.

    The way Steam is advertised on the main page says that Messaging and joining friends is actually free when you install Steam.

    1. a person that wants steam for free said on June 18, 2020 at 1:26 am

      tell that to steam devs

    2. seth said on October 14, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      steam is the worsty about this i have even spent bout 100 dollars and just today 10/14/2018 it put me into limited user access

    3. rafael said on April 3, 2016 at 6:37 am

      So if we buy something on a f2p game like tf2 will it make our steam account gain access to all steam features?

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 3, 2016 at 7:58 am

        Yes, if you make a purchase in the game that is at least $5, or add $5 to your Steam Wallet without making a purchase, the limited status is lifted.

  15. ódio said on July 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    theres a way to do it without paying something?

    1. air pair said on April 14, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      I been using steam for 3 years, and I haven’t done the paying thing, got gmod as a gift from somebody and I think my account is not been limited for I think 2 years now. I haven’t buyed anything. I think its been unlimited since 2 years

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Well Guest Passes are the only option, but they are usually time limited and you are switched back to being limited on Steam once the pass runs out.

      1. Mustakim said on July 30, 2016 at 6:24 pm

        how do i get one?

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