People don’t think there’s such a thing as “free money,” but as one ATM distributor in the UK found out, unfortunately, there is. When the ATM cash machine performed a faulty operation, the machine started giving out twice the amount of cash that customers were requesting.
The machine did this for a few hours before the police were summoned to come in and guard the machine from further theft (theft? really?) and to maintain secure premises and keep down any confusion. It seems that the crowd was starting to get a little boisterous and the shoving and pushing to get in the long line was getting out of control. After all, there was “free money” to be had, and everyone wanted a piece of it.
Just to be clear, this was definitely a fluke with the machine, and there is no ATM machine anywhere that purposefully gives out wads of money to its customers. Something faulty had gone wrong with the machine or someone forgot to change the default password to change the denomination settings, and customers were getting twice the amount of money that they were requesting. Word about the free cash quickly spread, and that’s when people started lining up to partake of what was, to some, their dreams coming true!
What’s a Business Owner To Do To Avoid Giving Away Free Money?
The owner of the cash machine of course had to work quickly to correct the mistake, but according to the bank, they could not and would not hold the customers liable for an error that their machine had made.
This leaves a lot of questions in the mind of any business owner, like:
- shouldn’t the customers return the money?
- how can the business owner recoup these “lost funds?”
- what exactly happened with the machine to cause this error?
- what can be done to ensure that it does NOT happen again?
There’s no way to be sure to tell what happened, how it could have been avoided and what can be done to avoid it in the future. But as an ATM cash machine owner, there are some things that a businessperson can and should do to lessen the chances of this happening with his cash machines.
1. Have the machines serviced regularly.
Don’t just plop down a cash machine in a spot and leave it there without periodic checks and maintenances. It’s important to do more than ensure the machine has adequate cash, but to also check to make sure that the software is up-to-date, that the hardware is working properly (slots, trays, etc.) and there are no visible signs of wear (rust, corrosion, etc.) that would hinder the machine in any way from working properly.
2. Check on the machines regularly.
Actually going to the machine site on a routine basis is important. Whether this is once weekly or three times a week, anything can happen so it’s imperative to stay ahead of any potential issues by keeping a close eye on things. This means more than just restocking it with cash and paper. Perform routine system checks in addition to visual checks, and make sure to physically handle the machine when you do.
3. Consult Professionals
If anything like what happened with the wayward cash machine were to ever happen to you as an ATM cash machine owner, you’d want to know what your recourses were (if any) and how you’d need to go about taking care of this issue. Consult your business attorney(s) to see if:
a. you have any recourse
b. you can ask for/insist that customers return the money
c. you should file an insurance claim to recover your losses
d. there really isn’t anything you can do, and you should just chalk it all up to unfortunate incidents.
3. Change Default Passwords and Admin Function Codes
When ATM Machines ship from the factory they are all shipped with the same administrative passwords and lock combinations. One of the first things that needs to be updated are the administrative and management passwords. If you are installing the ATM yourself, be sure to change these passwords. If you have your ATM professionally installed, be sure to ask your installer to walk you through the change process and don’t give anyone your passwords.
A legal professional as well as the ATM distributor may be able to assist you on what actions you can and should take, and what you should reasonably expect from such a situation. Although in the UK case, the owners had to suffer a loss, but that may vary from one company and one situation to another. It’s best to know for sure before giving up.Read More
If you have an ATM business, then you’ve already done your research and found it to be one of the most lucrative businesses you could have chosen to be in. The ATM business is easy to manage and operate, and you’re all but guaranteed a profit from your customers…that is, those that can find your machines.
A lot of the problem that most ATM owners face is finding ideal locations to put their cash machines. It may seem that this is a no-brainer since everybody at one time or another needs to get to an ATM machine. Surprisingly however, there are some business owners who are often surprised by the lack of traffic that their machines often get. Is this lack of traffic due to location, visibility, dependability or availability?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
Cash machine owners must understand that customers who frequent ATM machines are those who need convenience and flexibility. If your machines are in the right place, at the right time, and at the right locations, then your profits are all but guaranteed, and a happy customer you will make!
Although it may not seem or sound like a big enough deal, but location is crucial to the success of your ATM cash business. There are definitely good spots AND bad spots where you can position your ATM machines. Put it in the wrong place (or a not-as-good-as-can-be place), and your profits suffer. Put the machine in the right place (such as, IDEAL), and your profits soar. Where are little known and good spots?
- Outdoor concerts and venues
- Traveling fairs and carnivals
- Schools (colleges, high schools, universities)
As if location itself weren’t important enough, the visibility of your ATM machine is the second most important consideration for you to look at once you’ve found the ideal spot.
It doesn’t do your machine any good to be in the ideal spot, but no one can see it or doesn’t even know it’s there. Steer clear of placing the machine behind venues where it’s likely the machine won’t be seen. If it’s permissible with the venue’s owners or managers, ask to have signs pointing to where your machines will be located on the property. This is something that is certainly workable with negotiating, especially if there are multiple ATM’s on the site.
Also, when you’re looking for good visibility, also be aware of security and placing the machine where people won’t be worried about using the machine. Place in a well-lit, approachable place where there’s a fair amount of foot traffic, but not too crowded. You also don’t want customers to feel uneasy if there’s TOO much traffic around him while he’s making a transaction.
Now that customers know where the machines are located at the fantastic venue or permanent location, you’ll need to be sure that your machines are operating in good condition and well-stocked. There is nothing as aggravating to an ATM customer as to traipse all over the venue or site to get to your machines….and they don’t work!
Make it a point to perform routine maintenance on the ATM machines to ensure that they’re all working properly. Do this especially, and more importantly, before big events. If there are any problems that arise with the unit, have them serviced as soon as possible. In the case of machines that are inoperable for long periods of time, use an alternative solution. If you own multiple machines in the same venue, direct customers to where they can find your other cash machines on the property.
Also, make sure the cash is in the machines, and in sufficient denominations for the customers. This is a task that you will want to check on more often than a couple of times a week, especially if the machine is in a permanent location.
Where there’s an ATM machine, there will certainly be customers who will use it. With that, there needs to be machines available for them to use. In other words, be creative about where you choose to put your cash machines. If the places are safe enough and have high foot and/or car traffic, then your machine will certainly get some customers and make a profit. But, if there’s not an option for them to use, no one profits on either side.
Just by taking a little time to ramp up your ATM cash machine marketing efforts can make all the difference in your bottom line. Get creative with your placements, and take all of the above steps into consideration with your business. Provide a way for customers to find the cash machines, and you’ll have a way to make your business a successful one.