This ATM business basic checklist is for you to use as you go through the process of operating an ATM machine. If you’re looking for more of a step-by-step guide, check out our article How to Start an ATM Business in 5 Steps.
However, if you are looking for a list of what needs to be done, this is it. Once you have completed each item in this ATM business basic checklist, you will officially be in business. You can’t neglect any of these items if you want to start operating your own ATM machines!
1. How to Find a Processor
What is ATM Processing?
You need to work with an ATM processing company so that your ATM machine can communicate with your customers’ banks. An ATM processor identifies the network of each card inserted into your ATM machine, routes the information to the user’s bank, verifies the funds, then receives approval from the bank to dispense the withdrawal amount up to what’s available in the account. Check out our video here for more information.
Factors to Consider
Although ATM processing is pretty basic, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing an ATM processing company. It is in your best interest to research a variety of companies to find the one that is going to best suit your business needs and transaction volume.
Now, if you’re just getting started, you might not know your transaction volume yet. But your processor might. Find an experienced company that will be able to assist you throughout your entire career as an ATM owner.
An experienced company will be able to give you advice regarding the location you choose (keep reading this ATM business basic checklist for more information on choosing a location) as well as how much you can expect to make from that location or from alternative locations.
You also want to work with an ATM processing company that wants you to make money. A company that acts as a business partner will offer you support throughout your entire career, not just during the initial setup. The company should offer training, ongoing support, and dependable support (meaning they answer the phone when you call…).
Finally, you want to know what additional services the company provides. Not all ATM machines work with all processing companies, so if you choose a processor before your equipment, you might want to know if they also sell equipment. Because they will only sell machines that they can support.
If you purchase your equipment before choosing a processing company, you will have to make sure the company can support it. (More on deciding machine type next.) And you can switch processors after you are already in operation. Your needs might change, or you might not get the service you expect from your current processing company. In these cases, you will need to switch to a company that can support the machines you already have.
Other services you might want to consider are vaulting, remote monitoring, and automated payments. This business is all about building passive income. So you want to minimize your workload as much as possible.
You can load your ATM machine (vaulting) yourself to make as much profit as you can. But if this isn’t convenient for you, your ATM processing company might offer this service.
Remote monitoring allows you to track your machine’s activity and cash availability which makes it easier for you to keep it stocked and minimize downtime. And automated payments prevent you from having to spend time making transfers yourself and constantly online banking. The less time you spend managing your ATM, the more passive income you make.
When looking for an ATM processor, look for a business partner. Find out more about how to choose an ATM processor here.
2. How to Decide on Your Machine Type
You have lots of options when it comes to choosing ATM equipment. If you’ve already chosen an ATM processing company to work with, you will have to narrow your search to machines the company can support. If the company sells machines, this might be the simplest item on this ATM business basic checklist!
First, you need to decide if you want a freestanding machine, a through-the-wall (TTW) machine, or a wall mount machine. The three most important factors to consider when it comes to machine type are cost, space, and security.
TTW machines are the largest of the three types and therefore cost a little more. However, they are more secure because the vault extends into another room that can be secured during regular operation and vaulting. Unfortunately, they require a lot of space and some construction work to allow the machine to fit into the wall if the space doesn’t already exist.
Freestanding machines are smaller than TTW and are therefore a little cheaper. You also have more flexibility with the placement of a freestanding machine. Likely, a majority of the ATM machines you see day to day are freestanding.
Wall mount machines are the smallest of the three types. They are also the cheapest, but they don’t hold as much cash. Wall mount machines are a good option for slower locations. Despite the name, this type can be mounted to a countertop as well which makes them easy and convenient to place; they don’t take up a lot of space.
Some of the biggest names in ATM equipment are Hyosung, Genmega, Hantle, and Triton. All are reputable companies that have been in the business for a long time and are known for producing quality equipment.
New vs. Refurbished
Finally, you have to weigh the pros and cons of a new vs. refurbished machine. It really comes down to your budget, your experience, and machine availability.
We recommend starting with a new ATM machine at least for your first one. Newer models come with improved features and advanced technology making them easier to operate.
However, refurbished ATMs are also good options. It just depends on what is available and the quality of the refurbishment. If you have your heart set on a specific manufacturer or model, you might not be able to easily find what you’re looking for; you will more likely have to choose from what’s available.
Most importantly, make sure you purchase certified refurbished if you choose to go this route. This guarantees that the machine has had standards checks, detailing, and upgrades applied.
3. How to Place Your ATM
If you own your own store, you can go ahead and mark this off of your ATM business basic checklist! If you plan to place your machine in someone else’s business or store, consider these factors:
- Foot traffic
- Proximity to other ATMs
- Proximity to you
- Liquor license
The busier the location is, the better the location’s reviews are, the more people that pass by it every day, the better your ATM is going to perform. People can’t use your machine if they don’t pass by it or see it, so you want to get as many eyes on your machine as possible.
You also want to corner the market. You will get more users the farther away your machine is from other machines. This way, you aren’t sharing customers; yours is the most convenient!
Remember that the goal is to build passive income. So the less time you spend managing your machine, the more you make! This is why it’s important to choose a location that’s convenient for you, too. If it’s close to the route you take often, either to and from home or work, you make more with less time and work (and gas!).
Finally, keep in mind that locations that have a liquor license are able to charge more for transactions. In our article 9 Best Locations for ATM Machines we share our experiences with ATMs in various locations. If you need help approaching location owners, check out our tips for cold calling or join ATM Depot’s Members Area for access to scripts you can use to negotiate a deal.
4. How to Decide Your Surcharge
Setting your surcharge is all about strategy. You want to strike a balance between a transaction fee that’s convenient for your users and profitable for you. If you’re just getting started, you need to make your return on investment (ROI) before you can start making a profit, so you want to do this quickly. There are two ways you can do this:
First, you can set a surcharge that is lower than the competition to increase the number of transactions your machine receives. Second, you can match the competition or set a higher surcharge to try to make more per transaction.
However, it isn’t as simple as that. It all depends on your location, the amount of foot traffic, the demand for your service, and your proximity to other machines.
Fortunately, we have a comprehensive guide for How to Set Your ATM Surcharge. Furthermore, you can always adjust your surcharge, so don’t stress out about it too much. Trial and error will play a big role in making sure you get it just right!
Completing Your ATM Business Basic Checklist
You know what you need to do, but how do you do it? This ATM business basic checklist is just the start. That’s why choosing the right ATM processing company is so important. Because you want support from beginning to end. Whether it’s asking questions, strategizing, or filling your pockets, your ATM processor should be there every step of the way making sure that you are successful. If you have questions about choosing a processor, purchasing ATM equipment, placing your ATM, or setting your surcharge, contact us today!