Getting More than Just Cash from an ATM

Getting More than Just Cash from an ATM

Are ATMs Going to Become Obsolete?

ATM machines will never grow out of popularity. Cash is always going to be in demand, but the other services an ATM provides might not be necessary any longer. Most banks accept checks through your smart phone now so you do not have to go to an ATM to deposit money into your account. Instead of going to an ATM to withdraw money to pay a friend you can transfer money into their account online. So what are the things an ATM can do that you did not know about? You’d be surprised at what you may find.

  • You can collect gold from an ATM in certain places now. There are already gold dispensing ATMs in places such as Europe. Now gold dispensing ATMs are popping up all over the world. Whenever you decide that you want to invest into gold then you can go to an ATM and withdraw this metal. The machine will literally display an up to date exchange rate so that you can make a wise investment.
  •  Learn about financial opportunities when you visit an ATM. The screens have become highly advanced and now let people look at advertisements. ATM screens now show people ads that target that individual. For instance, if you have recently married, the bank might show you an ad about great home loan rates offered. This type of advertising has helped a lot of people learn about financial opportunities they did not know were present.
  • Did you know you could play the lottery on certain ATMs? As long as the state lottery commission approves it you can purchase a lottery ticket through the machine. A ticket is printed right there on the spot. You can also have your numbers sent to your phone so that you can verify whether or not you are a winner as soon as the numbers are released. Money is taken directly out of your account for the number of tickets you purchase.
  • Pay your taxes at an ATM. You will need to bring some important documents to the machine, but it is possible to pay taxes on certain ATMs. This can take a small amount of time so it is not recommended if there is a line behind you. Once your taxes are filed you can choose to pay any debt right there on the spot. Paperwork is printed and an e-receipt is given to you as proof of paying your taxes.
  • Withdraw money and reload your mobile device if you are on a pre-paid plan. Certain ATMs allow you to add more minutes or data straight from the machine. Every transaction you complete will take money directly out of your account. When you go withdraw cash you may want to add more minutes or additional data to your phone after you have seen your account balance.
  • Limit your spending by setting a limit on yourself. Some banks now allow people to set a budget to follow each week and month. The ATM will notify you of your remaining budget balance on your printed statement balance after every transaction you complete. You are not obligated to follow the budget you set. The purpose of setting a budget is to try and manage your money better so that you do not overspend. This is a good tool to use if you are trying to save money and want to closely monitor your spending habits.

The ATM has evolved to allow people to complete dozens of tasks beyond taking money. One machine that is far from being obsolete is the ATM. ATMs are continuing to expand the range of tasks you may complete at the machines. You can now even apply for loans or make a donation straight from an ATM. Businesses should take note and invest into machines that allow people a range of options to conduct at an ATM to improve the amount of potential customers.

Tweens, Teens, and ATMs

Should Teens Carry an ATM Card

Should Teens Carry an ATM Card?

The thought of your tween or teen armed with an automatic teller machine card might send shivers up your spine. After all, every place that young people go, there tend to be plenty of ATMs: at sports stadiums, concert venues, at shopping malls, and on so many city streets. You might imagine your child out with his or her friends, continually stopping at ATMs all night long so he or she can spend, spend, spend – and worry about the consequences at another time.

That doesn’t mean you should try to block your kids’ access to ATMs until they’re ready to leave for college. ATMs can provide emergency cash whenever your kids are stranded, or whenever they’ve lost a purse or wallet and need to pay for transportation home. What’s more, ATMs can teach them important lessons about monetary usage and about establishing a monthly budget and then sticking to that budget no matter what.

Setting Boundaries for your Teen’s ATM Card

It’s important to sit down with your kids before you hand them an ATM card to discuss restrictions. Just as you assign them a curfew and establish other rules, set limits as to how often they’re allowed to make ATM withdrawals, so as not to drive the cost of their ATM fees too high. Once a week is probably a good number. Also, instruct your kids to only use the ATMs belonging to their bank, again to avoid unnecessary fees. And make sure you review ATM safety guidelines with them, so they can avoid thieves and skimmers.

Sometimes it’s better to test your kids’ spending habits before entrusting them with full ATM privileges. One way to do that is by giving them a prepaid card. A prepaid card is similar to a credit card, but it uses funds that you have already deposited into an account. Every time your child makes a purchase, the amount of that purchase is deducted from the account. Once your child has demonstrated to you that he or she can spend in a responsible, thoughtful manner, and isn’t prone to splurges, you can then upgrade him or her to an ATM card. Be aware that some prepaid cards come with an ATM function, but you can usually disable that function if you want. You should realize, too, that a number of prepaid cards charge high fees.

In some ways, issuing a card for an automatic teller machine makes it easier to monitor your tween or teenager’s spending habits. If your child works, and/or you give her an allowance, then she might be spending a lot of cash without your having the slightest idea of where that money’s going. But if your son or daughter uses an ATM card to get cash as needed, you can have a clearer sense of when and where that money is being spent. Make it a requirement, therefore, that your child bring home all his ATM receipts, just as he does all his report cards. From time to time, leaf through those receipts and make sure there aren’t any huge withdrawals or suspicious locations listed.

By the same token, an ATM card can make a child more careful with cash. Think about it this way: if your child were to attend a concert with a big wad of cash that she’d saved up from her afterschool job, she might be inclined to spend the entire sum on unnecessary souvenirs. But if she has to go up to an ATM and type in a number, knowing that her parents are going to see the receipt, she might well end up spending a lot less money that evening.

How To Ensure You Profit From Your ATM

Ensure You Profit From Your ATM

So you have an ATM, but do you even know if you’re making any real profit? Some ATM operators consider the additional money spent in their location as profit but you may want to know the actual profit from the machine.

Do not become a business owner that buys an ATM and never calculates whether or not profits are being made. That’s no way to run a business. It’s a good idea to figure out how much you make a month and year so that you know the value of your investment.

When you don’t feel like you’re making as much profit as possible then you may want to consider ways to get more people to withdraw cash from your ATM. There are a few things you can do to encourage more customers to use your ATM.

How Much was the ATM?

Using the cost of the machine and how much profit you make from it monthly you can quickly see your ROI (your return on investment). Most business owners simply pay cash or use a credit card to finance the ATM (they aren’t that expensive anymore) so calculating ROI is fairly straight forward. While you can take advantage of depreciation and amortization as a piece of business equipment, you should also calculate how long it actually takes to recoup your investment.  We’ve seen busy ATM’s have an ROI of less than 1 month, while slower machines can take 6 – 12 months, which is still a fantastic ROI.

When you figure out how long it is going to take to pay off what you paid for the machine (your ROI) you’ll get a better understanding of when you will make a real profit. It should not take longer than a year to pay off what you invested to get the machine. Most business owners are able to pay off or recoup the investment in the ATM within a year.

Big factors include how much business you generate and the location of your machine. Make sure that your ATM is in a place people can easily find it. Consider putting your machine near the front of your store so people will be more likely to come in and use it if they need quick cash and don’t forget to load the ATM everyday.

How Much Does It Cost to Operate an ATM?

The factors that add to the operational cost of an ATM include communication (phone, internet or wireless device), a little electricity, and paper for the receipts.  All this added together is probably less than $0.85 per day.

Are you Keeping Track of the Money Going In and Out of Your ATM?

Most retail business ATM operators load cash daily similar to a cash register. So you should balance daily if you can. Otherwise, you can use the trial cassette close functions and online balance functions to track or count the money in the machine daily if possible. Whenever you or someone else loads the machine make your you have procedures in place to keep track of the funds. If you trust someone to load the ATM for you, be sure they keep a ledger or journal and make sure funds balance. This helps keep track of the money to ensure that you are not losing or missing any cash. Some people are tempted to think you’ll never miss a $20 bill here or there, so the last thing you want to realize is that someone you trust has been stealing a $20 here or there for a few months. Twenty dollars here and there might go unnoticed but it could add up.

You should be able to trust your employees but caution is always good to practice. Use the printer balance functions and put the receipts in envelopes and balance to the online system whenever you load or do your closeouts.

Are You Advertising that You Have an ATM?

A few signs, one for inside the store and a couple to put outside can make a big difference. Make your ATM very easy to find once people get inside. Post a big sign outside that reads “ATM Inside” so that people will know if they need cash all they have to do is walk into your store. Place another sign in close proximity to your store that notifies people there is an ATM within walking distance. A small investment into signs can go a long way and help you generate a lot of more profits on a weekly basis.

Another way to generate more ATM usage is to offer specials or coupons on the ATM receipt.  Most of the late model ATM machines make it easy to offer your customers extra value for using the ATM. If you have coupons in other publications, advertise those. You can also make deals with neighboring stores to advertise their store on your ATM if they advertise your store. You can also offer a coupon good for a special during their next visit.  There are lots of other ways to make your ATM more profitable. Want more tips on how to profit from your ATM, give us a call.

Biometric ATMs

What is a Biometric ATM?

Biometric ATMA biometric ATM (automatic teller machine) recognizes a customer not by an ATM card or a personal identification number (PIN), but by some aspect of his or her own body. And banks all over the world are starting to implement this kind of technology. In Warsaw, Poland, the bank BPS has set up such ATMs. (Poland has become a technological leader in recent years.)

These machines have also appeared in banks throughout the Middle East, South America and Africa. The first biometric ATM in India was installed by ICIC in 2005, in the state of Andhara Pradesh. Today, biometric ATMs are especially popular in the rural sections of India, where many citizens seem to dislike and avoid technologies involving PIN numbers.

These machines are especially popular in Japan. In fact, millions of Japanese banking customers regularly use the nation’s tens of thousands of biometric ATMs. One bank in Japan advertised this machine with the line “you are the cash card.”

In the past, biometric devices usually scanned one or more of the following items for the purposes of identification:

  • fingerprints
  • palm prints
  • the eye, either the retina or the iris
  • vocal patterns
  • a person’s signature

The latest biometric ATMs, however, examine instead the tiny veins located just beneath the surface of skin. Everyone has his or her own unique pattern of “micro-veins” under the fingers, and reading those veins represents a much more efficient and accurate system than reading fingerprints. According to studies, biometric micro-vein ATMs will only make a mistake one in approximately one million times, which is the same rate of accuracy as the previous champion, a machine that scans irises.

How are Biometric ATMs Effective?

Biometric ATMs are an effective theft deterrent. People can leave their fingerprints on surfaces, and cunning thieves are able in some cases to lift those fingerprints, reproduce them, and use the reproductions to trick machines that read fingerprints. In some gruesome cases, it would also be possible to cut off one more of a person’s fingers and use them to fool fingerprint-reading machines. Such a hideous process would not work with vein-reading technology, though.

Additionally, with a biometric ATM there are no cards that ATM robbers can swipe, and no PIN numbers that they could skim. These ATMs are also helpful in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters. Customers who may have lost their ATM cards during such disasters would still be able to withdraw much-needed cash.

Biometric ATMs have yet to catch on in North America. Part of the reason is that many American consumers are suspicious of the idea of turning over their personal biometric information to a large bank or other corporation. Could this data be sold for the purposes of advertising and data mining? What would happen if this data were somehow stolen? It’s the kind of question that concerns privacy advocates. Another issue is that many banks feel the ATM systems they currently have in place work just fine, and they don’t see the need for costly upgrades in their automatic teller machine technology.

There’s another issue at play. Americans on the whole have become especially concerned with sanitation lately. Look at how many hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in the last ten years – they’ve been showing up not just in hospitals and nursing homes, but in shopping malls, restaurants, and even churches. Remember the swine flu scare of 2009, during which Vice President Joe Biden said on national television that he’d advise his family to avoid commercial airplanes for fear of germs? Many people in the United States, therefore, would have reservations about using this hands-on technology, especially during cold and flu seasons.

Maybe someday biometric ATMs may gain momentum in the USA but I think that’s a long way off.  If you’re considering getting into the ATM business and want more information about the type of ATM equipment that is available today, please visit our ATM equipment page or call us at 888-959–2269.