Meeting User Needs: User Requirements for ATM Machines

It’s important to understand the user requirements for ATM machines because you want to make sure your equipment meets the needs of your customers. User requirements can be broken down into two categories: functional and non-functional. 

Functional and non-functional requirements, or functional specifications, are not terms specific to ATM machines. You can find these terms used within any business that develops software or systems. User requirements are often accompanied by business requirements and system requirements.

User requirements refer to user needs. For example, what the user actually does with the system (in this case ATM machines) and what activities the user should be able to perform. The customers and their needs inform manufacturer decisions about upgrades and model adjustments.

Now, there are both functional and non-functional user requirements. Functional requirements are mandatory. These are the requirements that users expect each time they visit an ATM machine. 

Non-functional requirements are not essential. These requirements are what can make or break the cost of a machine. Non-functional requirements can be left out to save on cost. As long as doing so does not negatively affect the user experience, of course. You might think of functional requirements as needs and non-functional requirements as wants.

For the purpose of this article, we will discuss what functional and non-functional user requirements look like when it comes to your ATM machine. Each has its place, but it’s important that you know what your machine offers your customers.

Functional Requirements for ATM Machines

Functional requirements refer to what the ATM machine should do. This includes ATM behaviors and how the ATM should react when certain conditions are met. For example, the ATM receives input, reacts, and delivers the appropriate output.

The advantage of functional requirements is that they help define service and behavior expectations. If something is missing or if there are errors, it is obvious and can be adjusted. And functional errors are typically relatively cheap to fix. 

Functional requirements support user goals, tasks, and activities. Let’s take a look at some examples of functional user requirements for ATM machines. 

Examples of Functional User Requirements for ATM Machines

Functional requirements are the mandatory actions the ATM should perform upon user request. We can automatically list those pretty easily: withdraw, deposit, transfer, pay bill, account balance, print receipt, exit. Now let’s look at some of those in terms of input and output. When a user

  • inputs the selection to withdraw funds, the ATM should dispense the selected amount
  • inputs the selection to receive an account balance, the ATM should display the available amount
  • indicates that all transactions have ended, the ATM should return the card and return to its idle state

Above we said that functional requirements refer to how the ATM should behave when certain conditions are met. For instance, when a user inputs the selection to withdraw funds, the ATM should dispense the selected amount from any suitable account linked to the card and upon approval from the bank

These functional requirements are not unconditional. The ATM can only respond accordingly under the appropriate conditions. Functional requirements include descriptions of

  • data entered into the ATM (card, PIN)
  • operations performed by each screen (withdraw, deposit, transfer)
  • workflows performed by the ATM (transferring funds, accepting envelopes, reporting deposits)
  • ATM reports or other outputs (dispensing cash, printing receipt)
  • who can enter the data into the system
  • how the ATM meets applicable regulatory requirements

When thinking of functional requirements, think of what the customer needs in order to perform his or her transaction. And of course there are many many more user requirements that fall under this category. 

But hopefully you get the idea. When the customer does X, the machine does Y. Functional requirements are the observable tasks or processes that must be performed by the ATM machine. So everything else is non-functional.

Non-Functional User Requirements for ATM Machines 

The qualities or standards the ATM must have or comply with are non-functional requirements. You might hear them referred to as supplemental requirements or quality of service requirements. They define how the ATM works and describe limits on functionality. So in other words, they specify criteria that judge the operation of the ATM rather than the specific behaviors of the ATM. 

While functional requirements answer “what” and “who,” non-functional requirements answer “how” and “to what extent.” And if non-functional requirements are not met, the ATM will still work. Functionality is not dependent upon non-functional requirements.

However, non-functional requirements do help make the ATM easy to use and enhance the ATM performance. They are properties, not features, and focus on user expectations rather than user requirements or needs.

Examples of Non-Functional User Requirements for ATM Machines

Some elements that come to mind when describing non-functional user requirements for ATM machines are accessibility, compliance, performance, security, and usability. 

Functional requirements refer to the ATM output itself. And non-functional requirements refer to how quickly the output is received, how easy it is to get the output, and how safely the output is obtained.

So non-functional requirements include safety functions like the key-operated power switch and operator panel. And security protocols like retaining the card after too many unsuccessful PIN attempts. Or performance indicators like speed of transactions.

A Side-by-Side Glance at Functional and Non-Functional Requirements

Again, functional requirements refer to the ATM behavior. Non-functional requirements define the ATM behavior per certain standards. Take a look at the following examples:

FunctionalNon-Functional
PINCorrect PIN allows transactionsMust be entered correctly within a certain number of attempts
Cash DispenserDispenses cashCan be opened and refilled with cash
PrinterReceipt printed upon demandCan be opened and refilled with paper
ATM StateDefaults to idle upon completion of transactionsCan be shut down and restarted
Functional vs. Non-Functional Requirements

Functional requirements refer to what the system should do. Non-functional requirements refer to how the system should fulfill those functional requirements. So functional requirements relate to components while non-functional requirements relate to the system as a whole.

The customer doesn’t care how cash is refilled, just that it dispenses cash when prompted. Nor does the customer care how the ATM is powered on and off, just that it’s on when he or she needs to use it. Make sense?

Why it is Important to Understand Functional and Non-Functional Requirements

You can think of these requirements from two perspectives. First, you can think in terms of your customers and users. For example, do the machines you provide offer them the options they both want and need? Are they happy to pay associated fees for these abilities? 

Second, you can think of yourself as the customer. What do you need and want from an ATM machine? Does the manufacturer meet those needs for a fair price? If the price is too high, what non-functional or supplemental requirements can you sacrifice to lower the scope or cost of the machine? 

And your answers to these questions might be based on your customers’ answers to the same questions. The purpose of functional and non-functional requirements is to make sure customers get a high quality product exactly as they expect it.

Keep this in mind as you shop for ATM machines from different manufacturers. Which model best meets your and your customers’ needs for the best price? Consider non-functional requirements as you weigh your options. ATMDepot.com provides detailed information for each machine listed on the website as well as owner manuals. Take a look and rest assured that you know exactly what you get before you purchase. Still have questions? Contact us today to speak with a representative!

5 Reasons to Start Your ATM Business with a New ATM Machine vs. a Refurbished ATM Machine

The question of whether to purchase a new ATM machine or a refurbished ATM machine is an important one for any bank or business owner. But it might be even more important if you’re just getting started in the ATM business. Without experience, you really want to know what you can expect. And you want to do it right the first time.

In this article, we will compare new ATM machines to refurbished ones focusing on why it might be better to go new if you are new to the ATM business. You will want to consider lifespan, technology, ease of use, compliancy, and total cost of ownership (TOC).

1. Longer Lifespan

The lifespan of ATM equipment depends upon exposure to the elements and rapidity of new updates. However, you can expect a new ATM machine to last around 15 years.

A well-refurbished ATM machine can last around ten years, all things considered. But you obviously get more years out of a new ATM machine. Additionally, that lifespan can be extended  with routine maintenance, consistent repair and service, upgrades, and refurbishments on the machine you already own. 

2. Latest Technology

Second, a new ATM machine is going to come equipped with the latest technology. While a refurbished ATM machine will perform the same basic functions as a new one (deposits, withdrawals, balance checks, etc.), there is some new technology that you won’t find yet in refurbished machines.

Depending on the model, new technology could include Windows 10, cash recycling, and video terminals on Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs). These features could make or break your business when faced with competition.

If you’re new to the ATM business, you might want to enter the game with the latest hardware, software, features, and functions. Then, as you get more familiar with the machines, if you decide to purchase more or need to replace existing machines you can opt for a refurbished version based on your experience of what works well for you and what is maybe “nice to have” but not “need to have”.

3. Easier to Use

To piggyback on number 2, the newer technology typically makes the machines more user-friendly. That goes for both your ATM visitors and you as the operator. A video terminal, for example, might draw more attention to your machine and gain the trust of passers-by. But if you need to update graphics or input functionalities, typically the operator menu is going to be easier to use the newer it is. 

Older technology can be complicated. That’s one of the reasons new technology is developed: to improve usability. So if you are new to ATM machines, you might want to start out with a new one at least until you get more familiar with it. 

4. Automatic Compliancy

ATM technology improves to make utilization quicker and easier. And additional features are designed and added to address customer needs and feedback. This includes accessibility. As regulations change, so must ATM features, and you must remain compliant to continue to operate your machine. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for example, requires that ATM machines be accessible to people who are blind, deaf, and wheelchair bound. New ATM machines must be developed to meet these needs and associated regulations. So, when you purchase a new machine, you know you are already compliant.

Older machines might have been compliant at the time they were manufactured, but regulations change as customer needs change. Older, refurbished machines can be adapted to meet current regulations, but you don’t have to worry about it at all if you purchase your equipment brand new.

EMV compliancy is another concern. For increased security, more and more debit cards come equipped with a microchip. This microchip can be entered into an EMV card reader instead of swiping the card stripe on the back. To be compliant, your ATM machine must have an EMV card reader. These can be added to machines not already equipped, but again, new ATM machines will already have it.

5. Total Cost of Ownership (TOC)

This category is actually pretty even on the scales in most cases. All ATMs have intricate moving parts, electrical components, and software that needs to be regularly updated. Any of these areas could malfunction at any time. It’s rare, but it’s possible.

Buying an ATM outright, brand new is going to be more expensive than refurbished. But refurbished machines are older and may or may not come equipped with the latest software and compliancy features. This means you might end up having to purchase upgrade kits separately on top of any necessary maintenance down the road.

However, the quality of refurbished ATM machines is not the same across the board. You could get a refurbished ATM machine that has been completely rebuilt or one that has just been cleaned and polished. Therefore, new and refurbished ATM machines are similarly reliable; it just depends on the individual machine and its upkeep.

In the next section, we’ll tell you what to look for if you are still considering a refurbished ATM machine.

Risks Associated with Poorly Refurbished ATM Machines

You might find a really good deal on a refurbished ATM machine, but you will want to question the quality of the refurbishment. Worst case scenario, the job is a “blow and go,” meaning the job is done quickly in an effort to move on to the next job sooner. 

These refurbishments will include cleaning and probably new decals making the machine look nice but not really taking time on fixing any internal issues. Obviously you’ll want to avoid these. This is where purchasing a refurbished machine can actually end up costing you more than a new one. If the refurbishment is sub-par, the money you save on the purchase will just go into service, maintenance, and upgrades.

All of the refurbished ATM machines listed on ATMDepot.com, however, are certified refurbished. This means that they have undergone specific standards checks. They are cleaned, detailed, and updated. Decals are replaced, the newest software is installed, and security is updated. This is what you want to look for in a refurbished ATM machine.

The downfall here is that even though refurbished machines can in most cases be purchased good as new, your options are based on availability. So if you’ve been researching specific brands and models that you might be interested in, there’s no guarantee that a certified refurbished one of your preference will be available.

The last thing to look out for when shopping for refurbished machines is discontinued models. The Triton 9600, Triton 9700, WRG Apollo, and WRG Genesis for example can only be used for parts. If you see one of these advertised cheap, keep in mind that they are no longer able to process transactions on ATM networks due to new regulations including the EMV liability shift and ADA guidelines.

The Case for Purchasing a New ATM Machine

As you can see, there are pros and cons for purchasing a new or refurbished ATM machine. If you are just starting out in the ATM business, there are just a couple of extra factors you need to consider until you gain a little more experience.

It really comes down to price vs. risk. The cheapest machine might not be the most reliable or expertly refurbished. There is less risk associated with purchasing a new machine, which might be best for you if it’s your first time, but it’s going to come at a higher cost. 

We’ll leave you with this: most ATM equipment is durable, reliable, and long-lasting. All you have to do is find the best ATM for your needs within your budget. Check out our ATM Buyers Guide for more information on ATM types and manufacturers to help you make a decision today!