Learn How to Choose an ATM Processor
Whether you’re just starting your ATM business or you’ve got machines already, your ATM processor has a big impact on the long term profitability and success of your business. So, knowing how to choose an ATM processor is vital information for new ATM owners and owners looking to switch ATM processors.
It’s not enough that your ATM processor just transfers money to the right account on time. You want an ATM processor that’s going to provide ongoing support and assistance beyond simply processing transactions.
If you call your ATM processor for help with ATM programming and setup, and your ATM processor says, “Hey, we just send the money where it needs to go. You’re on your own,” that’s not helpful. Your ATM processor should behave like a good business partner, not just a service provider.
So, what services should your ATM processor offer? Here’s what to look for as you evaluate ATM processors.
What Your ATM Processor Should Do for You
There are some obvious things that an ATM processor should do. But, there are nuances, even with the essentials.
A company can certainly function solely as an ATM processor. However, there’s an upside to working with a processor that also sells ATM machines: you know the machines you get from your ATM processor can process using their service.
It wouldn’t make sense for an ATM processor to sell you an ATM that’s incompatible with their service. A processor that also sells machines is especially handy if they sell used or refurbished ATM machines. You get machines at a better price, without the headache of potential compatibility issues with your ATM processor.
Obviously, your ATM processor needs to send your money to your bank account. But, it should actually be much easier than transferring money from your checking account to your savings account on your bank’s website.
First, your ATM payments should be automated. Or, you should at least have the option to automated payments. The ATM business is all about building passive income. If you have to initiate transfers yourself, it makes your income less passive.
Automated payments might seem like small potatoes. But, it’s actually important in terms of choosing an ATM processor that provides service that aligns with your business goals.
If you need payments sent to multiple accounts for any reason—because you have a business partner with a separate account, because you have multiple accounts to deal with different expenses, or anything else—it’s easiest if your ATM processor can split your payments for you.
Yes, you can split those payments yourself using online banking. But, again, this makes your income system less passive.
So, look at the options for payment processing that your ATM processor offers, and make sure you’re working with a processor that’s going to help you build an ATM business that meets your goals.
As you know, keeping your ATMs stocked with cash is vital to keeping your business humming.
Now, there are a few options for ATM vaulting:
- You can do it yourself. Just get the cash, and take it to your ATMs to restock all your machines. This is the most profitable way to vault your ATMs since it doesn’t add any overhead to your business.
If you vault your ATMs yourself, it’s most convenient if your ATM processor provides monitoring services that alert you when one of your machines is low on funds.
- You can get the location owner to do it. This is a good option, since the business owner is there frequently, maybe every day. And, they have a vested interest in the security of the ATM because they’re stocking it with cash from their register. Additionally, this minimizes your workload.
Clearly, the business owner will want to be compensated for their efforts. But, it’s often a worthwhile expense.
- You can have your ATM processor vault your ATMs for you. This takes the responsibility of vaulting your ATMs off your plate completely.
Whether or not you use this service from your ATM processor, it’s a good option to have. You may have ATMs that are in locations which are difficult to refill yourself, or if you want an armored truck service to protect your cash, having your ATM processor vault your ATMs may be the best option.
Now, your ATM processor will charge you for this service. This is the crux of choosing whether or not to have your ATM processor vault your ATMs. The service shouldn’t be so expensive that it kills all your profit. Around $1.00 per transaction is reasonable and manageable. In any case, make sure that the cost works for your ATM business model.
In the end, you don’t need to use your ATM processor’s vaulting services. However, working with an ATM processor that offers ATM vaulting can help expand the potential locations for your ATMs and reduce the workload of keeping them full of cash.
ATM Installation and Setup Support
Getting ATM locations is largely a sales process. But, ATM setup and programming is a more technical process. It’s also the part where many ATM owners get hung up.
So, it’s important that you work with an ATM processor that provides instructions for setting up and programming your ATMs. And, it’s important that you can call your ATM processor for free if you get stuck and need help.
You lose money for every day that your ATM isn’t functioning. So, it’s important that your ATM processor is there to help you overcome challenges in the setup process and get your ATMs up and running.
Alternatively, a quality ATM processor will offer to send a technician to install an ATM in a new location for you. This isn’t free. But, it will save you a lot of time and headaches, especially when you’re new to the ATM business.
Just like the ATM vaulting service, you shouldn’t be required to use your ATM processor’s setup service. But, it can be a good way to get some ATMs going while you’re still learning the ropes of ATM setup and programming.
Service Agreement Templates
Creating your own service agreement from scratch is a bad idea. You’ll most likely end up leaving something out. Then your service agreement won’t properly protect you if something goes wrong between you and the location owner. Obviously, this can be very bad.
A good way to avoid this problem, without hiring a lawyer, is to use templates. This way, you can create a service agreement that’s customized to the situation, without leaving anything out.
Service agreement templates will save you a lot of money in legal consulting fees and long-term losses from botched service agreements. So, an ATM processor that offers service agreement templates makes it easier and less expensive to get the paperwork done and get your ATM machines up and running.
Low Fees and Shorter Contracts
There are ATM processors that sell new ATMs at an impressively low price. It seems like a great deal at first.
However, most companies that discount their ATM machines wrap up a lot of fees in their service. You might save a few hundred upfront. But, the ATM processor gets that money back through fees over time.
Often, companies that make money on slightly higher fees will require 3 to 5-year contracts. Longer contract requirements ensure that the fees cover the cost of the discounted ATM machine. If you sign a 5-year contract, the fees could end up being more than the initial discount you got on the ATM machine.
ATM processors that charge slightly higher prices for their ATM machines usually have a lower fee structure. And, these ATM processors usually offer shorter contracts, in the range of 1 to 3 years. They can offer shorter contracts because they don’t need to make up for discounted ATM machines.
So, look at potential ATM processor fee structures and contract requirements, and consider how much those fees are going to cost you over the life of the contract.
The last thing is flexibility and support. Your ATM processor should be responsive and easy to work with. If you can’t get the help you need, when you need it, your ATM processor isn’t helping you much.
It’s best if your ATM processor offers some sort of 24/7 support. You never know when you’ll need help with your machines. So, your ATM processor should offer anytime support for their services.
As we mentioned earlier, your ATM processor should be more like a business partner than a service provider. Availability and responsiveness are key to getting this sort of partnership from your ATM processor.
Last step: Choose an ATM Processor
Ultimately, the ATM processor you choose is one of the first major decisions in your ATM business. You’re already on the right track by reading about how to choose an ATM Processor. You’ll be working with that processor for a year or more. So, you want to work with an ATM processor that’s going to support you and your business, in addition to processing transactions.
If you’re ready to compare ATM processors, start by checking out ATM Depot. ATM Depot offers complete support and education for everything from ATM purchase to installation and everything in between.