What is Refurbishing?
Frugal minds like to repurpose things or refurbish used things that are due for replacement or going to get discarded. Either way, whether it’s repurposing or refurbishing, it’s always a good idea to get the most you can out of something in lieu of discarding it. When you refurbish something or use something that’s been refurbished, you can save yourself a lot of money, not to mention gain something valuable in return. When you refurbish something, you simply take something that is worn or used and make it work like new again by restoring or re-equipping it in a usable fashion.
With ATM machines, refurbishing equipment helps ATM owners cut costs and get invaluable returns on their investments. With ATM owners, especially those who are new to the business, who opts to use refurbished equipment, have the luxury of slowly adapting themselves into the ATM business without the steep overhead investments of buying new equipment. This is especially important as well for those owners who want to keep their overhead costs as low as possible. Refurbishing is also a great option for established business owners who may decide to have multiple machines in several different locations. For those purposes, he wants to be able to maximize his return on his investment, and with refurbished machines, he’s able to do that at a fraction of the cost that it would require if he bought the machines brand new.
Why Buy a Refurbished ATM?
Simply put, buying a refurbished ATM machine saves money, and often, lots of it. Refurbished machines cut costs, both recurring and fixed, and owners can see their investment returns sooner with refurbished equipment.
Is there ever an instance where a refurbished machine would not be a good idea? Of course there is, and that would be in cases where the software is incompatible with a particular model, or if the model is too outdated to accommodate current market software or other equipment amenities. For instance, if the equipment is not conducive for physically impaired customers to operate, a refurbished machine may not be the best or wisest investment. This is applicable in situations where the ATM machine experiences high traffic of a diverse population. The machine, if it’s not current or has been altered to accommodate particular customers, may pose challenges for those customers and could also deter a large segment of potential customers altogether.
Refurbished ATM machines are not junk items; they’re actually in sometimes better condition than even newer models, depending on what the previous condition of the equipment may have been. Many times they’ve been completely dismantled, cleaned, conditioned and serviced and then placed back together to make for an optimal working machine. Owners who may mistakenly believe that reconstructed machines are “junk” repairs would do well to look into a refurbished unit for cost reduction as well as efficiency in operations.
Is it Junk?
Discarding an ATM machine isn’t always a final option for many owners. In many cases, the need to upgrade software or change ATM locations may also dictate the need to invest in a pre-used machine. This may also apply if the machine is going to occupy an area on a temporary basis as well. If the owner is awaiting new equipment or is having existing equipment serviced for a long time period, the need to use a refurbished unit may be more advantageous for his needs.
Refurbished machines are likely an ideal situation is in terms of security and privacy. These days, customers are more aware and have a higher sense of security when it comes to protecting their financial information. More current, up-to-date ATM machines not only have software to accommodate these issues, but there are also hardware tools like money dispensing covers or privacy trays that allow the customer to have more privacy and security when they’re making their money transactions. With these kinds of amenities, customers are more likely to frequent that particular ATM and have more of a comfort level while doing business.Read More
It’s not always a bad thing, but talking to a few banking customers will give you a lot of insight about how they feel on the subject of ATM fees. They will tell you that paying outrageous ATM fees, for them, is sometimes annoying and even alarming. It can be quite alarming if the customer has to use an ATM at a location where they weren’t expecting to get such a high usage rate attached to their transaction. For the ATM owners, the more profits that they can charge and obtain, the better it is for their business’ bottom line. But for the customer, finding the ATM with the lowest to no ATM transaction fee is going to be the ideal situation.
Great for the Owner
Without a healthy bottom line, the ATM owner doesn’t have the financial resources he needs to provide a quality service to his customers, not to mention a much-needed convenience that some customers love. ATM fees allow owners to offer their customers the latest software updates for their transactions, a faster processor on the machine, equipment that’s in excellent condition and the peace of mind in knowing that the machine will always be able to accommodate their cash requests whenever they need it to. Not to mention also that ATM owners are furiously competing with one another on getting the bulk of the ATM business traffic, so it’s in their best interest to offer customers an attractive deal in return for their business.
Great for the Customer
For the customer, exorbitant ATM fees could mean less trips to the ATM, or, going out of their (convenient) way to find a machine that charges less that machines that are closer to them. Some customers will even go out of their way to transact with ATM machines that charge anywhere from $.50- $2.00 less than the machines that are closer to them, all to save as much money as they can. However, when the customer takes his business elsewhere, the ATM owner could possibly feel the effects of it and may feel compelled to lower their rates in order to draw that customer back.
So, who should profit more and be better accommodated? The ATM owners… or the customers?
Where Do ATM Fees Go?
As far as ATM fees go, sometimes these charges are implemented solely for the customers who are non-members. That means that if a customer doesn’t already bank with an institution or have an account with that bank, they may be charged an ATM fee in order to perform a transaction by withdrawing money or using another banking service. In other cases, relatively fewer, fees are often charged to all customers, regardless of whether or not they have an account with that particular banking institution. One of the biggest complaints that customers have of exorbitant ATM fees is that since there isn’t a human teller helping them with their transaction, there is no reason why the fees have to be so incredibly high, or at best, no reason why there has to be such frequent and periodic steep increases just to access that bank’s financial services.
One of the main reasons as to why there are ATM fees is simply to manage this service and to keep it running smoothly and conveniently for the bank or ATM owner’s customers. In fact, there is software that has to be upgraded on a routine basis, that which is often covered with fee services. The machine also has to be repaired on occasion, or at the very least, maintained for service. There is also the insurance responsibility that is required for ATM machines that owners have to take into account in case of theft, natural environmental causes or other issues. When a customer is a member of a bank, these types of maintenance fees are built into either the customer’s monthly fees or through fees to their accounts if their balances fall below a minimum balance requirement.
So while having ATM fees assessed to customers is not at all a “waste,” it helps when customers understand the need for these types of fees and why some banks charge one amount while other banks charge another. The best thing for ATM owners to do to keep a steady stream of business is to keep their fees reasonable but comparable to what their competition is charging in the market. For customers, it’s a good idea to try and be as consistent as possible with one banking institution so as to cut down on the amount of fees that they pay out, but ideally it’s best to be a member of the banking institution where they frequently use the ATM machine. This will help to ensure that their fees stay steadRead More
Doing business at a local ATM machine is not at all that uncommon, but what about trying to transact business with an ATM that’s located outside of your native country? Is it as easy to do, as it would be at home? Are the fees reasonable or astronomical? What about customer service, or support systems?
All of these are certainly legitimate concerns for any person who is trying to use an ATM machine out of the country. And, if you’re an ATM machine owner, it’s certainly a topic that you want to address with your customers so that you can help them to avoid any issues. Working with the proper channels that are necessary in order to have your ATM location properly mapped can mean the difference in you either losing, or gaining, business.
Dealing with financial institutions abroad can be quite interesting, especially given that each banking institution operates under its own set of guidelines. There are of course some areas where financial institutions operate under the same principles (legal, etc.), but there is flexibility on other areas where things can be changed or adjusted to fit the bank’s mission or objective. To protect the customer, there are a few things that they need to be aware of when doing business with international ATMs. Some include:
Try to only deal with ATMs that are owned and/or operated by the financial institution that owns them. This means, avoiding unknown, unheard of or ATMs that are ill-placed in different areas. If the customer experiences any problems with such machines, it would be a horrendous task to try and lay claim to any losses while in a foreign country.
- Conversion Fees
Take note of any “conversion fees” that are a part of the ATM transaction. These fees are also known as international withdrawal fees, and are assessed whenever a customer withdraws money in another country from an ATM machine. Generally, these conversion fees are a matter of doing business, but it’s important to stay aware o the fees, which should run no more than between 1% to 3% per purchase, or per instance (debit card purchases inclusive).
- Balance Inquiry
A charge for a simple “balance inquiry” at an ATM machine can result in a nominal fee being tacked on to your account. As a one-off transaction, this may not be especially important, but depending on the institution’s policies and fees, this amount can certainly add up quickly. It’s probably going to be best (and more economical) to find an alternate method to check your bank account balance to get this information. One such suggestion would be to do an online inquiry, which would likely not result in a charge from your local banking institution.
Other Financial Services
Customers can also turn directly to the financial institution that issued the card if they want to get more financial services, in addition to the ATM services. This is especially important if the traveler will be going abroad and may need other services like currency exchange information, information about withdrawal limits or any other cash restrictions or any limits on cash advances for the local currency. Dealing directly with the issuing institution will help answer any questions or vague understanding that the customer may have about cash, ATM and traveling. It’s always best to have a thorough understanding of any money issues that may exist in other locales before arriving there.
In order for customers to locate ATM’s in a specific country or within a particular region, they can reference an ATM locator to find out if there is one in their area. Usually, owners send ATM location information periodically to MasterCard and Visa card corporations. This location information is logged and made available on the card-issuer’s site(s) so that customers can quickly locate an ATM location. Since this information is updated frequently, it does in fact contain the most current and accurate ATM location information that would be available to customers worldwide.
In a world of conveniences that make daily necessities much better, access to ATM machines are probably at the top of many lists. ATM machines are certainly a welcomed convenience for customers, especially when they’re pressed to get cash in a hurry and they’re looking for the nearest ATM machine(s). As ATM owners, providing such a welcomed service in prime locations can also be quite lucrative and provide a steady flow of customer traffic. It’s a win-win situation for both the customer and the ATM machine owner, that is, until there are miscommunications or underhanded things done that adversely affect ATM owners. While they are a great idea and convenience to have, what’s not so great is when situations arise where customers sue machine owners because of this wonderful convenience.
Are There Fees?
Customers generally understand that when they use an ATM machine at a bank or a location other than their main banking facility, they can expect to pay a small to moderate user fee for the service. The fee amount can vary from one facility to the other, but there will invariably be a fee incurred by the user. There is rarely, if ever, no machine user fee, so the notion of “no fee” is really not expected.
Another thing that’s not expected is the litany of lawsuits that ATM owners have had to deal with for supposedly not disclosing their ATM machine fees to customers. Several lawsuits ranging in varying dollar amounts have stated that the usage fees were not displayed in plain sight and they were not knowledgeable of the fees before they made a transaction. Therefore, because the defendant (the ATM owners) are responsible for ensuring that the fees notifications are prominently displayed on the unit, the monetary lawsuits were awarded in favor of the plaintiffs. So why were the notices not in plain sight?
The New ATM Bill
This is where things get a little controversial. Notices can be placed with a sticker on the unit, notifying the customer of the fees. The problem is that the stickers were constantly being removed (weather conditions, theft, etc.) in some cases, making it appear that the owner wasn’t providing optimal customer service. This problem needed a solution. There had to be a better, more ideal way to apprise the customer of the fees. That answer was in the amendment of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, more specifically H.R. 4367. This amendment works to protect ATM owners and also to discourage those frivolous lawsuits that were beginning to drastically increase.
The newly reformed ATM Fee Disclosure bill now protects ATM owners as it eliminates the requirements that were originally set forth in the amendment that required ATM owners to have and display a physical sticker which notified customers of the ATM service fees.
ATM Changes for Owners
With the new bill in place, all that ATM owners would be required to do is to continue to apprise customers of the service usage fees, but they can now display that information digitally on the screen. Customers have the option to accept or deny any charges associated with the ATM machine when using it to access cash withdrawals. This new system also eliminates faulty problems that were occurring with the notification stickers and them “getting lost” so frequently. So whether the missing stickers were due to acts of nature or from malicious intent, ATM owners no longer have to worry about lawsuits resulting from not having fee information displayed on the machines.
ATM owners are glad and relieved to know this good news. The problem with the lawsuits was affecting the owners in a very negative way having to constantly defend their compliance with the notifications. With digital notices, customers can and are required to read and accept the full disclosure sentence regarding the fees, and they must do this before the ATM machine continues to transact their request. This means no more misunderstandings, miscommunications and best of all, no more lawsuits.Read More