Don’t Steal Money from the ATM

Don’t Steal Money from the ATM

If you’re looking on the internet about how to steal money from ATM machines for illegal purposes please see these articles:

1. How to Steal an ATM with a car and a chain

2. How to Steal an ATM with a Tire Iron (Car Jack)

3. Is ATM Theft worth the time?

If you’re an ATM owner that got locked out of your ATM machine or need advice before calling a lock smith to drill out your lock keep reading.

Don’t Steal Money from the ATM

Most of the ATM machines you see in retail merchant locations such as night clubs, bars, convenience stores, Adult Entertainment Clubs, restaurants, liquor stores and most other retail locations, include two different Underwriter Laboratory ratings (UL Ratings).

There are typically only two levels of safes or security cabinets for securing money in the variety of ATM Machines.

One type of ATM safe is the Business Hours (BH) vault which has to meet the UL 291 Security Standards. The other type of ATM is a 24 Hour Level 1 Safe. This safe also has to meet the UL 291 security standard plus a more strict standard. The UL 291 Standard was designed by Underwriters Laboratories, an independent product-safety testing company.

These are the same folks that rate house hold appliances, electrical cords and almost everything that goes to consumers. The UL 291 standard requires that the ATM machine offers a certain degree of protection against unauthorized removal of the ATM contents (currency) as well as the removal or manipulation of transaction records. In other words, if you are a business owner shopping for an ATM look for at least the UL 291 standard. This standard must withstand attacks from someone trying to rob money or change the transaction records.

Both type of ATM safes have environmental and endurance requirements:

UL 291 Standard Business Hours ATM Machine: An ATM machine with a “Business Hours” rating is only designed to hold and store cash during normal business hours (when someone will be on the premises) . Basically this ATM is designed to be loaded and unloaded like a cash register by a responsible owner, manager, or employee.

The money kept in this type of ATM vault should be removed at the close of the business day. Now if your store or location where the ATM is located is operated 24 hours per day (or has employees on site 24 hours a day), then removal of the cash is not necessary.

Specifications: The metal of a UL 291 Business Hours ATM Machine can withstand a physical attack from a potential thief armed with wires, lines, chisels, pry bars, or wrenches for several minutes (at least five sometimes more). Rarely is an ATM theft attempted during business hours. It’s a very stupid thing to try and almost guarantees incarceration. Should anyone see a person attempting to open an ATM by force, the store owner, manager, or employee would call the police. For more information see the UL site.

24 Hours Level 1 ATM machine: ATM Machines with a Level 1 safe rating are designed to protect currency storage 24 hours a day with our without supervision. These ATM machines typically weigh around 300 lbs or more. The steel used in a Level 1 safe can typically withstand physical pressure of 50,000 psi.

This type of ATM is designed to withstand an attack, using fishing, trapping, and forcing techniques, on the currency container from the customer access panel for 30 minutes or more. Attacks on other portions of the safe, using picks and portable electric tools like drills and grinders, can also be resisted by this type of safe for 15 minutes or longer.

Any type of forced entry attempted on an ATM Machine makes a lot of noise, can trigger all sorts of alarms, camera motion sensors, as well as security guards and the authorities.  Most criminals will not try to break into the ATM on the premises and many that try to steal the entire ATM are caught since they weigh so much and they really don’t have that much cash in them to be worth all the effort.

If you need to break into your own ATM Machine due to a non-functioning lock, the best thing to do is to drill out the Combination. There are specific areas of the lock that need to be drilled and it will still take a while to open.  If you are locked out of the ATM and you have an electronic lock please check the external 9 volt battery to ensure that is not dead.  One of the most common reasons ATM owners are locked out is they don’t pay attention to the low battery warning indicators.

There is an emergency procedure that can be done. Simply call our toll free support line should you need help getting into your ATM.  If we can’t help you and determine that it’s not the battery but a lost or forgotten combination, we would recommend a locksmith.  If you have a Mas Hamilton or other high end lock, we would suggest you contact the manufacturer as they may have solutions for these high end locks that are typically used by Armored Service Carriers.

If you are an ATM owner and lost or forgot your ATM machines combination, first try to contact your service provider. They may know someone in your area that can help you drill out the lock carefully without damaging any other part of the ATM. Trying to break into an ATM by any means other than having a professional drill out the lock will risk damage to the machine and could be a potential liability. If hiring a locksmith to drill out your combination, be sure they are bonded.

ATM Machines sold as well as operated by have the ATM safe separated from the customer access panel area, which is an extra security feature that makes ATM fraud and robbery that much more difficult.

Standard Environmental requirements: All ATM machines have to withstand 85% humidity for 24 hours. This ensures that all ATMs maintain records and the quality of the currency in the cash dispenser.


Noah Wieder, Founder of ATM Depot an ATM Machine Processing Company, has been in the ATM Machines business since 1994 and was founder of the former XtraCash ATM.

Jeremy Camhi, National Sales Manager, ATM Owner and resident in-house ATM Expert has been in the ATM Machines business since 1999.

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3 replies
  1. Joelle Fauteux
    Joelle Fauteux says:

    This may not be the best place to ask this but, I want Locksmiths In Seattle And I can’t figure out where to look…has anyone ever heard of this Emergency Locksmith Service?they’re located in Seattle, near my house i can’t find reviews on them–{Royal Lock&Key LLC, 1605 12th Ave #14 , Seattle, WA 98122 – (206) 357-6845


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