How to Complete Your ATM Business Basic Checklist

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…).

Other Services

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!

Machine Type

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. 

Check out our ATM Buyers Guide for more guidance on choosing the ATM equipment that’s best for your business. We also compare Hyosung and Genmega, the two top of the line ATM manufacturers.

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!

ATM Business Basic Checklist via
Want to start your own ATM Business? Make sure you check off all of the items on this checklist before you get started so that you’re prepared.

How to Set SMART Goals for Your ATM Business

Have you heard of SMART goals? It’s no secret that goal-setting is a tried and true method of making sure stuff gets done. But if you’ve set goals before without success, you might have missed some key steps.

Setting goals for your ATM business is a good way to make sure you are successful. You might need to set goals to help get your business started to begin with. Or maybe you need to set some goals to increase profits. Or maybe you want to set some goals to help you balance your ATM business better among your other jobs and your personal life.

Whatever the case may be, SMART goals are a good place to start. We’ll show you how.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are specifically designed to help you actually achieve what you set out to do. Rather than just jotting down some items on a to-do list without any accountability, SMART goals allow you to monitor your progress toward a big-picture goal. 

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By making sure your business goals fit these categories, you set yourself up for success by ensuring that you have a plan to actually accomplish them. Let’s take a look at some examples of SMART goals you can set for your ATM business.

How to Set SMART Goals

How to set SMART goals is already outlined in the acronym. Think of a goal and make sure it fits all five categories. If it doesn’t, then tweak it until it does. We’ll start with a basic example—increase profit—and see how it can be turned into a SMART goal.


First, your goal needs to be specific. “Increase profit” is a good start, but it would be even better to assign a number to it. If you make just one penny more, technically you will meet this goal. But is that really what you mean when you say you want to increase profit?

Take a look at how much you have already been making. Then, decide how much more you’d like to make. Give yourself a specific number to reach. Track it along the way to make sure you are on track to meeting this milestone.


Once you make your goal more specific—increase profit by X% or increase profit to $X—you need to make sure it is measurable. Because, like we mentioned before, you want to be able to track your progress toward reaching your goal. And you want it to be clear at the end whether or not you succeeded.

Assigning a dollar amount or percent to the “increase profit” example not only makes the goal more specific, but it also ensures that your goal is measurable. Percents and dollars can be calculated. You can do some accounting at the end of the quarter or the end of the year to see if you have increased profit from last quarter.

By setting a measurable goal, you are able to keep it on the forefront of your mind. You can create a chart or graph to visibly display your progress toward your goal. Don’t blindly wait around until accounting time to see if you magically made more money. 

Measuring and tracking progress makes working to achieve your goal a constant activity and therefore increases the chances that you will actually succeed. If you are actively measuring and tracking your progress toward your goal, you can make adjustments along the way if the numbers start going the wrong direction or plateau.


This one is tricky because you have to find a balance between shooting for the stars and grounding yourself in reality. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by setting a goal that is completely out of reach, unrealistic, or unachievable. On the other hand, we want to encourage you to set high goals for yourself and to believe that you can and will achieve them.

So let’s look at our example. Increasing your profit by 10% or by $1,000 are examples of achievable goals. These numbers are realistic, and reaching them will have an obvious effect on your business, your income, your lifestyle, etc. 

Earning a million dollars, for example, is not realistic. If you’re in the ATM business, you know you aren’t doing it to get rich. So you aren’t selling yourself short by lowering your goal from a million dollars because this business isn’t designed to earn you that much. It has nothing to do with your abilities, passion, drive. Just keep that balance in mind as you set your SMART goals.


Next, you want to make sure your goal is relevant. This means that whatever goals you set for your business should align with the goals you set for yourself, your family, and your personal life. If your goal is to increase profit by $1,000, but to do so means placing an additional ATM machine, then you have to consider whether the time it will take you to maintain that ATM machine will cut into other important obligations.

Say you want to increase profits. So you place an additional ATM machine. But now you have to add a few hours a week to your route. Normally you would be spending that time at home with your family. Is that business goal still relevant? 

If not, adjust it! Maybe lower the profit goal to a number that could be reached by adjusting the surcharge or advertising the machine. That way you can still reach your goal, make more profit, and stay on track with the other areas of your life.


Finally, you want to set a time frame. Without it, you could be working blindly day in and day out without ever knowing for sure if you were making good progress toward your goal. 

A time frame holds you accountable. And if you’re measuring or tracking your progress, you can see how what you are doing in your business now is affecting the trajectory of your business toward reaching your goal. 

This also plays a part in making sure your goal is achievable. Increasing your profit by next year is an example of an achievable time frame. Increasing your profit by 10% by next week is a little unreasonable. It doesn’t give you enough time to measure the actions you are taking and the changes you are making to ensure that your efforts continue to move you forward.

But the bottom line is to make sure you set a goal that can realistically be achieved in the amount of time you determine. 

Why SMART Goals?

You can make a list of goals all day long. And if you’re really focused and motivated, you can accomplish them. But the best way to make sure you are productive is to set SMART goals. 

SMART goals are ideal because they are designed to be achieved. They clearly state what it is you’d like to do and force you to create a plan to get it done. For example, your goals should be measurable, but then you have to assume the task of measuring your progress. Your goals should be timely, so you need to pick a timeframe and stick to it. If you are ready to step up your ATM game, try setting SMART goals to see just how successful you can be. Need help? Contact us today to see how ATMDepot can help you reach your goals!

Improve ATM Performance and ATM Attractiveness to Maximize ATM Profits

Owning and operating an ATM business is a simple way to earn passive income. But what if your ATM performance isn’t as high as you expected? Is there anything you can do to maximize ATM profits?

You have to keep in mind that although an ATM business is unconventional in many ways, at the end of the day it is still a business. For instance, what do store owners do during slow periods? They run sales, offer coupons, and take out ads. You can do the same for your ATM. 

If your ATM isn’t performing well, don’t worry and don’t quit. There are things you can do to improve your ATM performance, maximize ATM profits, and get that passive income flowing.

Why Isn’t Your ATM Performing?

Before you look at the ways to improve your ATM performance, you need to diagnose the problem. After you identify the reason(s) why your ATM isn’t performing, then you can determine an appropriate solution.

The first factor you want to consider is the location. Is your ATM placed in someone else’s store? How much traffic does it get? Does the location have good reviews? You want your ATM machine in a store where a lot of people pass by and drop in.

What about hours of operation? Is the location 24/7? If not, is your ATM machine inside or outside of the store? Your ATM might not be serving your customers at the times when they need it most.

Think about the placement, too. Is the ATM in a place where people feel safe using it? If the ATM machine is hidden, poorly lit, or not under video surveillance, this could be deterring customers.

Finally, consider your surcharge. Is it too high? Is there another machine close by that offers a lower surcharge? If so, you might want to experiment with a lower fee.

Of course, you might not be sure what the problem is exactly. In that case, there’s no harm in trying all of the following ways to improve ATM performance and maximize ATM profits!

How to Improve ATM Performance

1. Advertise

The first thing you want to do to get customers to use your ATM is make sure they know it’s available. Is there a sign at the location that passers-by can see from the street? If not, add one.

Advertise inside the location as well. Add a topper to the machine that catches the attention of customers and patrons of the location. There should be a clear path to the ATM machine as well. If it’s in patrons’ line of sight, it will be easier to access and therefore will attract more customers.

Does the location or store have a website or Facebook page? If so, you might want to list “ATM” online as a service offering. That can spread the word to people who aren’t even on site or nearby. 

2. Offer Incentives

You might want to partner with the location owner to offer some sort of incentive to customers for using the ATM machine. Coupons can be printed on the ATM receipts to encourage both ATM use and in-store purchases. This creates a win-win situation for you and the location owner.

3. Upgrade Features

Adding upgrades to your ATM machine is an easy way to spruce up an older ATM machine. Even if your machine is new, adding additional features could help customers notice your ATM machine and set yours apart from the competition.

Add a topper to run graphics, messages, store promotions, ads. Install a lighted keypad to make the machine more attractive. And if you don’t already have a camera on the premises, adding one will make customers feel more comfortable using your machine.

You can also invest in a UV-C light device that scans the keypad to sanitize it. This could impress your customers by looking out for their health and safety and set you apart from the competition.

4. Lower Surcharge

You have to set your surcharge strategically. The average ATM surcharge fee is around $2.50-$3.00. If your surcharge is higher than this, it could be deterring customers.

If your surcharge is too high, you might lose customers to a machine with a lower surcharge. Scope out the surrounding area and see what other machines are charging. (If yours is the only ATM nearby, then surcharge likely isn’t your issue.) You want to offer a competitive rate: high enough for you to make income but low enough to encourage transactions.

You can experiment with this. Lower the surcharge for a while. If transactions don’t increase, then this probably isn’t the issue. So raise it back to the original surcharge so that you at least continue to make the same amount of money from the transactions you do get. Only lower the surcharge if it draws in more customers. 

You might also consider offering lower denominations from your ATM machine. Customers in the area where your machine is may need to take out less than a $20 bill. Dispensing a different denomination than the other ATMs around you could also help you stand out from the competition.

5. Move the ATM

If all else fails, move the ATM. This is one of the unique benefits of running an ATM business: it’s mobile. If your location is slow, hidden, going downhill, then it might be a good idea to move the ATM to a different store when your agreement is up. However, let’s not jump to switching locations just yet. Strategic placement of the machine at its current location could do the trick. 

First of all, can passers-by see the ATM before entering the store? If not, is there a place that would make this possible? People have to know that an ATM machine is available in order to use it.

Second, is the ATM machine easy to get to? You might consider moving it close to the front door or straight ahead from the front door without any shelves, lines, or other obstacles. Not only should the machine be easy to get to, but ATM users don’t want to be hidden from cameras or the public eye when they access their accounts. An obscure ATM machine isn’t safe, and your customers are attuned to this.

Third, can the ATM machine be moved outside? If this is feasible, it could extend the hours of operation of your machine if the store isn’t open 24/7. This also solves a couple of the other problems: visibility and accessibility.

Finally, is the ATM in an area where people need cash? There might not be a need for an ATM at its current location. Maybe there are other machines in close proximity that are proving to be too much competition. Or maybe there aren’t a lot of opportunities for people to make cash purchases at any other businesses in the area. If this is the case, it might be time to look for a new location.

How to Improve ATM Attractiveness

Would you rather use a dingy ATM or a shiny new one? Not only does shiny grab users’ attention, it also suggests a certain degree of safety and trust. We aren’t saying you have to purchase (or should have purchased) a brand new ATM. There is nothing wrong with a properly refurbished ATM machine.

What we are saying is that customers are more likely to use a machine that’s clean, attractive, and safe. Users don’t want to use a machine that looks old, run-down, poorly maintained. They might fear losing their debit cards if the machine doesn’t look trustworthy.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your ATM machine is attractive and enticing to customers. First, clean it. Wipe it down regularly. Replace the decals if necessary. Clean the area around the ATM, too. You want people to approach the ATM, not shy away from it.

Second, upgrade some features. Add a topper to run messages and advertisements. Get a security camera. Install a lighted keypad to attract customers and make the machine more attractive. Especially if your machine is used or refurbished, adding a lighted keypad could be a nice touch. 

Third, make sure your machine is functional and has little to no down time. An out of order sign could lose customers’ trust and prevent them from returning to that machine. So if anything ever goes wrong, address it immediately. This includes keeping the machine stocked with cash and receipt paper at all times.

Finally, regularly update your software. You want your machine to run as quickly and smoothly as possible. And you don’t want to run into any technical issues. The more available your machine is, the more potential there is for transactions.


If none of these tips are possible or effective for you, you might want to consider moving to a new location while keeping this list in mind. In order to improve ATM performance and maximize ATM profits, people have to know that the machine exists, they have to need cash, and they have to feel comfortable using the machine. 

It might require a little trial and error to get it just right. There are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of decisions to make. Be strategic and don’t be afraid to try and try again. That’s the beauty of the ATM business: it’s easy to be flexible. Want to know what locations experience the best ATM performance? Check out our article “Choosing an ATM Location: 9 Best Locations for ATM Machines” here.

How to Run an ATM Business Successfully

Want to know how to run an ATM business successfully? Running a successful ATM business is simple. As long as you are willing to do the work, there is money to be made. But when it comes to being successful in the ATM business, it’s important to remember that not all ATM businesses look the same.

Someone else’s success might not look like yours. What that means is that you have a lot of decisions to make that no one can make for you. You have to decide which processor to work with, which machine to purchase, where to place your ATM, and how much to set the surcharge.

The answers to all of these questions will depend on your specific lifestyle and goals. The most successful ATM business is the one that works for you. All you need is a little strategy and patience to run an ATM business that brings in the revenue you aim for.

Here we share 5 tips that show you how to run an ATM business successfully. Follow these tips to make sure you have all of the pieces in place to run a successful ATM business.

1. Find an ATM Processor That Meets Your Business Needs

The first thing you need to do is find an ATM processor you want to work with. There are many things you will want to consider in terms of overall cost, support, and perks. If you aren’t sure how to run an ATM business, you want to find an ATM processor that acts as a good business partner, not just a service provider.

ATM Sales

One important factor is whether or not the ATM processor sells ATM machines as well. If you purchase your machine from an ATM processor, your machine is guaranteed to be compatible with their service. 

An ATM processor that sells machines might even have used and refurbished options that are compatible. This saves you time purchasing the machine first and then having to find a processor that will support it.

Automated Payments

You are earning passive income with your ATM business. That means you sit back, relax, and let the business work for you. But if you have to initiate transfers yourself, that’s time and energy you’re spending unnecessarily. Especially if you need to split the payment.

You might have a business partner with a separate account or you might have multiple accounts yourself that you use for different reasons. An ATM processor that offers automated ATM payments and payment splitting can save you the hassle of online banking to manage this yourself.

ATM Vaulting

It’s important to keep your ATMs stocked with cash. You have three different options when it comes to vaulting:

You can vault the ATM yourself which will save you money but cost you in time. If you vault yourself, you’ll want to work with an ATM processor that provides monitoring services to alert you when your machine is low on funds.

You can have the location owner vault the ATM. This is convenient since the location owner should be near the ATM regularly anyway. The location owner may or may not negotiate compensation for providing this service.

Or, you can have your ATM processor vault for you. There will be a charge for this, of course, but working with an ATM processor that at least offers the service can provide you with more options as you add more ATMs to your business and need to reduce your workload while also keeping your machines stocked.

Installation and Setup

You will want to work with an ATM processor that provides instructions for setting up and programming your ATM. The best ATM processors will offer to send a technician out to install an ATM in a new location for you. This might be convenient for you if you’re a first-time ATM owner who isn’t familiar with the technical side of owning an ATM machine.

Service Agreement Templates

A good service agreement leaves no room for error. You don’t want to have to hire a lawyer to settle a discrepancy in your service agreement if there is an issue between you and the location owner. 

You also don’t want to hire a lawyer to draft a service agreement for you. So if you aren’t qualified to draft a fool-proof service agreement, and you don’t want to spend money on a lawyer, you want to be working with an ATM processor that has templates for you.

By using a template, you ensure that all of your bases are covered while still saving yourself money by not hiring out and by avoiding long-term losses in the case of an incomplete service agreement.

Low Fees and Short Contracts

Some ATM processors charge more than others. Those that offer low prices on the sale of their ATM machines make up for the difference by locking you into a long-term contract and charging fees throughout the duration of the contract. 

There are ATM processors that do not do this. Try to find a good balance between fees and contracts when comparing ATM processors.


Your relationship with your ATM processor doesn’t begin with ATM setup and installation and end with payment. Anything can go wrong at any time and you will need a resource to turn to for help. Make sure you have an ATM processor that will be available for you when you need technical support. There are ATM processors that offer 24/7 support should you need it.

When it comes to choosing an ATM processor, look at the options the processors provide. Which do you need at the current stage of your business?

Are you a new ATM owner who will need a lot of support? Do you plan on adding more ATM machines to your business? Are you an experienced ATM owner dissatisfied with your current ATM processor? What do you need that you don’t currently have?

In the end, you want to work with an ATM processor that will help you build the ATM business that helps you meet your goals.

2. Choose an Appropriate Machine

There are three factors you need to consider when purchasing an ATM machine: type, manufacturer, new vs. refurbished.

ATM Type

The type of machine you purchase is going to depend on the space you have available. A free-standing ATM generally has a small footprint. It can be placed anywhere there is a power supply. 

Through-the-wall (TTW) ATMs are typically quite bulky and you will need to invest in a little bit of construction if you don’t already have the space available. This is because the bulk of the machine, the interface, sits inside of the wall and extends into an adjacent room.

You might want a TTW ATM if you want more controlled access to the vault. If the interface extends into a room you can lock or where there is little foot traffic, you make the machine more secure. It isn’t accessible to the public and makes it safer for you when loading the machine.

TTW ATMs also work well when you have a space where the front (the chassis) can face outside. This makes the machine available 24/7 to all passers by, not just in-store customers during hours of operation.

Finally you have the option of a wall mount ATM. This is going to be the smallest option which is optimal if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. It can be placed on a countertop or hung on the wall. It’s going to hold less bills, so this is a good option for a low-traffic location. 

ATM Manufacturer

Some of the biggest names in the ATM industry are Hyosung, Genmega, Triton, and Hantle/Tranax. They all produce sturdy, reliable machines; that’s how they put themselves on the map. So you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Hyosung and Genmega are the best of the best. However, they still vary in size and features. So the decision still comes down to what you are looking for in terms of price versus features.

New vs. Refurbished

Next you want to consider purchasing a new vs. refurbished ATM machine. This decision might depend on your budget, experience, and concern for the environment. 

Purchasing a refurbished machine could save you money up front. You want to make sure that you purchase a certified refurbished machine, though. “Blow and go” refurbishments only clean up the surface of the machine. So you might end up spending more money down the line on repairs than you would have if you’d just purchased a new machine to begin with. 

You also might not get your ideal machine if you purchase refurbished since they are based on availability. You do, however, save on the 63 million tons of electronic waste when you purchase refurbished.

New machines are going to be easier to use. Usability constantly improves with each new model. Manufacturers want their machines to be user friendly, so if you are new to the ATM business, you might want to try a new machine first.

3. Place Your ATM Machine in a Profitable Location

The more people who use your machine, the more profit you will make. So you want your machine to be where people will pass by it, where they need the convenience, and where you aren’t competing with a bunch of other machines.

The most profitable locations tend to be those that are cash only, have liquor licenses, get a lot of foot traffic, and have good reviews. You want your machine where people are and where they need cash. 

You also want your machine in an area where there isn’t any competition. Or, if you see an area that already has ATMs but they are outdated, ask around and see if the location owners would be interested in updating.

Consider the convenience of the location for you, too. You want the machine close to where you live or work. The more time you spend getting to and from the machine, the less profit you make. And you need to be aware if your machine isn’t working properly, so you will need to check on it often. 

4. Determine a Fair Surcharge

You are completely in control when it comes to setting the surcharge. You want a surcharge fee that entices customers to use your machine but that also earns you a profit.

If your ATM is close to one across the street, you might want to set a competitive surcharge to bring more customers to your machine. If your ATM is the only one for a number of blocks, you might be able to set a higher surcharge. People will pay for the convenience.

You also need to account for profit sharing. If you place your machine in a location someone else owns, he or she might negotiate for a share of the surcharge profit. 

ATM surcharge fees range from $0-$8. You can offer a surcharge-free ATM service if the ATM itself brings more customers into a business that you own and encourages cash sales. More cash sales save on credit card fees. 

However, if your ATM is in a location owned by someone else, the surcharge is the only way you will make revenue. The average surcharge fee is $2.50. At an average of 6 transactions per day, that equals 180 transactions per month for a total of $450 a month. 

If that number sounds good to you, try starting with $2.50. If you’d like to try to make more, increase the surcharge. You can use trial and error to get the perfect number that satisfies both you and your customers.

5. Stay Compliant

If you purchase your ATM machine new, it’s going to be fully compliant automatically. This means that it meets ADA and EMV requirements. If you purchase a refurbished machine, depending on its age, it might not be fully compliant.

Often you can make upgrades to make an older machine compliant, but you have to weigh this cost against just purchasing a new machine. In any case, your machines need to meet these compliance regulations:

  • The top working button should not be higher than 48” off the ground.
  • The area in front of the machine needs to equal 48″ x 48″ (16 square feet).
  • There must be one unobstructed side of the clear floor space that adjoins an accessible route or another clear floor space leading up to the ATM and connecting to the clear floor space in front of the ATM.
  • All ATMs must be speech enabled. This may require that a 3.5mm female jack be accessible for headphones.
  • The display screen must be visible from 40″ above the center of the floor in front of the ATM. Characters on the screen must be in Sans Serif font, a minimum of 3/16″ in size, and must contrast with their background.
  • Braille instructions must also be provided.
  • Function keys must be designed to contrast visually from their background surfaces.
  • Input device control key surfaces must be raised above the surrounding surfaces.
  • Keypads must be arranged in an ascending or descending layout. The “enter” key should be marked with a raised circle, the “clear” key with a raised left arrow, and the “cancel” key should be marked with a raised X. The “add value” key should be marked with a raised plus sign and the “decrease value” key should be marked with a raised minus sign.

Upgrade kits are sometimes available for machines that do not meet these requirements, but not always. Make sure any machine you purchase meets these requirements or can be made compliant with an upgrade kit. If you already have a machine or two, check them for compliance to avoid hefty civil penalty fines.

How to Run an ATM Business Successfully

We’ve shown you how to run an ATM business successfully. There really are only 5 things you need to focus on to make the most amount of profit from your ATM business. There is some strategy involved, some trial and error, and you might have to make changes from one machine to the next. 

Considering these 5 tips before you jump into business can significantly increase your chances of running a successful ATM business that brings in the kind of revenue you expect.

But even if you’re already in the ATM game, it’s important not to forget these tips. It’s never too late to go another direction, especially if you plan on adding more machines to your business! ATM Depot specializes in ATM processing, sales, service, and independent ATM deployer (IAD) support. Give us a call and we’ll let you know if we think you have a good location. We can also help you figure out what you can expect to make from ATM processing with your machine. Contact us today!

How to Start an ATM Business in 5 Steps

If you’d like to make a little extra money on the side or want to transition out of your 9-5 job, you might want to know how to start an ATM business. In just 5 steps, you can own and operate an ATM machine that brings in passive income almost immediately.

You don’t need a business license or any specific entrepreneurial training or experience to start an ATM business. Just complete the required documentation, select your ATM machine type, find a location, set a surcharge, and start making a profit. Here, we’ll tell you how to start an ATM business today!

Step 1: Get Compliant with Paperwork

When starting an ATM business, you have to complete the required documentation. The following forms and documentation are necessary in order to even get your machine. This proves that you are qualified to operate an ATM machine and helps set you up for success. This process is designed to make purchasing and operating an ATM machine seamless.

Required Documentation

Your ATM processor will require an equipment order form. This is where you choose the equipment you want and indicate whether you or someone else will handle installation. You will also need to document what your surcharge will be (see below) and what denominations your ATM will dispense.

Next is the ACH form so that your revenue can be deposited into your bank account! Your driver’s license is required to prove your identity and pass a background check. You cannot run an ATM business if you have been found guilty of a felony or financial crime.

A voided business check verifies the legitimacy of your linked bank account. For the purposes of running an ATM business, the account must be a checking account, not a savings account.

The ATM Operator Agreement and application tells banking partners who they are working with and ensures all federal regulations are met. You will need to complete and submit a W-9 form as well. Since you will be making money from your ATM machine, you’ll need to document your earnings for tax purposes.

Finally is the ATM processing agreement. This document lists your rights and obligations as the ATM owner as well as the rights and obligations of the ATM processor. It’s the legal contract between you and the ATM processor that runs your ATM machine program. This agreement also ensures you receive your payment as agreed upon.

Other Applicable Documentation

You may or may not need to complete these forms. They don’t apply in all situations. For example, a business license and permit might only be necessary if your local government requires it. Otherwise, you can register as a sole proprietor under a “doing business as” business name.

A placement agreement, or site location agreement (SLA), would only be necessary if you are planning to install your ATM machine in a location that was owned by someone else. This document serves as a contract between you and that third party and outlines each party’s responsibilities and share of the revenue.

Like all insurance, ATM insurance is completely optional. You can opt to purchase it and account for the cost when calculating your potential profit after operation costs. Or you can test your luck without it. Kind of a gamble here, but if you work with an insurance company that is associated with the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), they can guide you toward a policy that meets your specific needs.

Last is the wireless agreement. This allows the ATM processor to send you a wireless modem which converts your signal from Internet to cellular and speeds up your connection. Again, this is optional and can be done on your own timeline.

Step 2: Select ATM Type

When choosing ATM equipment, there are three necessary decisions you have to make: ATM type, manufacturer and model, and new or refurbished. 

ATM Type

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing ATM equipment. First you must decide the ATM type. There are free-standing, through-the-wall (TTW), and wall mount ATM machines.

Free-standing ATMs offer the most flexibility when it comes to placement. They can be installed anywhere there is a power source. They have a small footprint which is helpful when planning around available floor space in a store.

TTW ATMs are bulkier but more secure because the interface, the back of the machine, is secured within the wall extending into the next room. This can make accessing the machine to replace currency a little safer.

Wall mount ATMs can be mounted to a wall, table, or countertop. This can be convenient if your location doesn’t have a lot of extra space available. This is also a more practical choice for small businesses and low-traffic locations.

Manufacturers and Equipment Options

Two of the most popular ATM manufacturers are Hyosung and Genmega. Both produce high-quality, reliable equipment. ATM Depot also offers the full lines of Triton and Hantle (Tranax) machines.

Each of these market-leading manufacturers produces sturdy ATM equipment that lasts upwards of ten years. Just remember that pricing will vary based on the manufacturing company, machine type, and features. You can get more information about manufacturer and equipment options in our ATM Buyers Guide.

New vs. Refurbished

You also have the option of purchasing your ATM machine new or refurbished. New machines are recommended for first-time independent ATM deployers (IADs) who are just starting an ATM business. The new technology informed by feedback from IADs and users makes new ATM machines easier to use.

However, purchasing a refurbished machine could save you some money and therefore speed up your ROI and increase your profit. It’s also better for the environment to reuse electronic equipment rather than having it sent to the landfill.

Step 3: Find a Location

Choosing the right location is very important when it comes to making a profit from your ATM business. You have to find a location where there’s a great need for an ATM machine. Where do people go where they need cash to pay for goods and services? Where is there a large gap between one ATM machine and the next? What are the areas of your city with the most foot traffic? And who might you have to partner with in order to place your machine in a strategic spot?

Who Will Own the Space?

Before you should even think about ordering an ATM machine, you need to know where you’re going to put it. Choosing the perfect ATM location is a very strategic process. You have to consider factors such as visibility, ease of access, and competition. 

The first decision you have to make when choosing a location is whether you want to rent your own space, supply a space you already own, or coordinate with a site location owner. If you rent or purchase your own space, you have to factor that into your operating costs and adjust your business model accordingly to still make enough of a profit for it to be worth it.

The same is true of partnering with a site location owner. Depending on the agreement you set up, you could end up splitting your profits with the owner of the location where you choose to install your ATM. Keep this in mind when calculating your potential profit.

What Are the Best ATM Locations?

When it comes to choosing the right location for your ATM machine, you really have to consider what’s best for you and your business specifically. And you have to work with the locations available to you. Generally speaking, the best ATM locations typically share the same characteristics: cash only, high traffic, good reviews, liquor license, distance from other machines, and convenience for you.

Locations that are cash only or that encourage cash transactions create the demand that your ATM supplies. If people need cash, they need an ATM. This is good for business. So is high traffic. 

The more people who pass by and see your ATM on a regular basis, the more business you’re likely to get. High traffic areas also provide a certain level of security and comfort among users. Isolated machines away from security cameras or the public eye present an increased risk of vandalism and theft.

If you partner with a store owner, you want your ATM to be placed in a store or business that has good reviews. The more customers that store gets, the more business your ATM is likely to get. 

Locations with liquor licenses are good options, too. They are open late, so that extends the hours of operation of your ATM machine and offers more opportunities for transactions. Plus, it’s reasonable to have an increased surcharge at these locations, too (more on surcharge later).Finally, you have to consider the proximity of your machine to you as well as to other machines. The closer your ATM is to other machines, the more competition you have to get customers. But you also want the machine to be convenient for you to access. The more time and money you spend getting to your machine for maintenance and surveillance, the less profit you make.

What Are the Most Profitable ATM Locations?

There are some specific business types that tend to be more profitable due to increased surcharges, high demand, and large volume of patrons. These include casinos, gentlemen’s clubs, hotels, nightclubs and bars, convenience stores and gas stations, restaurants, barbershops and salons, microbreweries, and parking lots.

Keep in mind that profits will vary based on each individual business’s success. When looking for an optimal location for your ATM, choose a business that is busy, regularly brings in customers, and has good potential for staying in business for a while.

Step 4: Set Your Surcharge

The surcharge is the fee customers or users pay for the service your ATM machine offers. For each transaction made on your ATM machine, you make the surcharge amount in return. Setting your surcharge is a very strategic process. You want to offer a competitive surcharge while also setting yourself up to make as much profit as possible. 

The average ATM surcharge fee is about $2.50. Depending on the competition in your area, you can raise or lower that fee amount. And you can change it at any time. 

You might want to start with a low surcharge to encourage people to use your machine as you are just getting started. Or, alternatively, you might want to set a higher surcharge to meet your ROI quicker and start profiting sooner. The choice is up to you.

You also want to consider whether or not you’ll be sharing any portion of the revenue with a third party like a site location owner. If you are, you might opt to set a higher surcharge so that you make more after the site location owner’s share.

Step 5: Start Making Money

It is possible to make a good amount of money from an ATM business. When you’re just starting out, you will want to undergo a modicum of trial and error to get your business model just right. But with an ATM business, you have a low overhead and many opportunities for growth.

As long as people use your machine, you will make money. Getting people to use your machine is the hard work that you have to do once everything is set up. But once you do, you should expect to be making at least $450 monthly gross revenue. That’s 180 transactions a month at $2.50 each.

You can expect 40%-70% annual ROI from any location that warrants 80-100 transactions monthly. To make $1,500-$2,000 monthly in profit, you would need to own and operate 5-10 ATM machines. This is certainly possible if you can establish an efficient routine with your first machine and find optimal locations for subsequent machines. 

How to Start an ATM Business

If you want to know how to start an ATM business, it’s actually very easy. In just a few steps you can start making money. It will require a little bit of work to develop a routine with your machine and test different surcharge amounts and marketing strategies. But there are very few steps involved between completing the required paperwork and beginning to make money.

The best part about running an ATM business is that most of the factors that determine your success are in your control. You decide how much to invest in equipment, where you want your machine, who to work with, and how much you’d like to make per transaction. If you still have questions regarding how to start an ATM business, you can speak with an ATM Depot representative. Contact us today!

How to Start an ATM Business