Planning your ATM purchase
Many business owners find themselves wondering if they should purchase an ATM. If you have a lot of foot traffic in your establishment, have people asking, often, if you have an older machine, or you know there isn’t another machine close, are all good reasons to consider the purchase.
Once the decision has been made to purchase an ATM, the decision maker needs to research and plan out the path they want to take. Some things to consider when planning an ATM purchase are the machine options, costs, and profitability. Knowing exactly what you are getting into and what to expect can alleviate stress throughout the purchase.
Steps to Buying an ATM:
- Some might think buying an ATM is as easy as ordering the machine, having it delivered, installing it, and then its ready for business; however, there is paperwork that needs to be done before the buying process. There are a series of forms that must be completed, some of which are required by the due to Federal Government banking regulations and the Patriot Act. Another of these forms is for a background check. Since operating an ATM is considered a money wire transaction, a felon is not allowed to purchase or handle any operations of the machine.
- The next step should be finding and researching companies that sell ATMs. This might include reading customer reviews and interviewing ATM companies, which can give an indication on the type of experience one can expect when dealing with a certain company.
- Once the search has been narrowed down to a few good companies, one should consider contacting business references of the company you are considering using. You’ll then need to turn your attention to the type of machine you want to purchase. There are many different options and accessories available for ATMs. The prospective owner must decide what is important on the machine.
- Do you want to provide coupons for your establishment?
- Do you want it EMV ready?
- How much do you want to spend on the machine?
- Do you want to install a seperate phone line for the ATM, use your existing Internet and run wire to the ATM, or opt for a dedicated wireless device (the most reliable).
- Once all of the questions have been answered, there are accessories to consider such as;
- Do you want a light for the top of the ATM
- Do you want a wrap for the machine that has your business logo on it. or a special design?
- Do you want a fixed cassette or a removable cassette?
- Do you want an electronic lock?
- Before your machine comes for installation, and when you complete the paperwork you will need to decide how much you are going to charge your customers to use the ATM and what denomination you plan to load it with.
- Then you will want to strategically plan the placement of the ATM. Also keep in mind that you will need power and communication line where the machine is to be installed. Just as in real estate, the ATM placement is all about location, location, location. If the machine is hidden in the back of your store, who will ever know it’s there? The best place for an ATM is where the most traffic is in your establishment. This is usually close to the entrance, near a cash register, or by the busiest place, such as the soda and water aisle in a convenience store. After all, the purpose of purchasing an ATM is to increase profits. The easier accessible the machine is, the more it will be used.
Once your purchase planning is over and the ATM has been installed, you are ready for business. The operations and maintenance of an ATM are fairly simple. For maintenance, you want to keep the area around the machine looking clean. Be sure to sweep the area and clean up any receipts that have been left behind a few times throughout the day. Keep your machine wiped down and dusted, this just make it all the more attractive. Also be sure to ask the ATM company you chose how routine maintenance or repairs would be handled.
- When decided on the surcharge you want to assign for transactions, there are some things to consider. The surcharge is a service fee for using the ATM. This fee amount should be based on the going rate in your area. This might mean going out and visiting other establishments in your area that have ATMs and seeing what they are charging. You don’t want to undercut your price because this is where you will make your profits. You also don’t want to be overpriced because customers are generally attracted to using the machine with the lowest charge. Usually, the entire surcharge is your money, the fee is deposited to your account money. For instance, if the fee is set at $2.50 per transaction and you have 400 customers use the machine in a month; you’ve made an $1,000 profit for the month. Once per month, the ATM processing company for your machine will deposit the surcharge fees to your bank account.
- Filling the ATM with cash is usually the establishment owner’s responsibility, unless of course you hire a company or 3rd party cash provider to handle this for you. You fill the machine with your own money. When starting out, you will want to pay close attention to the amount that is being withdrawn each day to be sure you are putting enough cash in. You don’t want customers turned away because your machine is out of cash. Many ATM owners ask, “How do I get my money back after it is take from my machine?” As transactions take place at the ATM, the funds are then taken from the user’s bank and deposited back to your bank account. Good ATM providers deposit funds every business day. For example, funds withdrawn from your ATM on Monday (up until a certain time of day) are deposited back to your account Tuesday.
- When you purchased your ATM, it probably included a feature for real-time transaction stats. With this feature, an ATM owner can go online to see up-to-date transaction stats from their machine. This feature can also be used to run reports as often as needed. This is a good tool, especially in the beginning, to track how much cash is going in and out of your machine.
- Some miscellaneous expenses are normally incurred with the operation of an ATM. These expenses might include receipt paper, network fees (vary by region based on the networks on the back of your customers ATM cards) range from $0.03 to $0.18, which is minimal when compared to the surcharge fee charge, and the occasional replacement part as the machine gets older.
Purchasing an ATM can prove to be a fruitful decision, bearing in mind that you place the machine in a good location and take the necessary measure to care for the machine. Doing thorough research and planning out your purchase, will not only ensure you a great experience, but will probably find you the best product and service also. Adding an ATM machine to your business will prove to be one of the most profitable items per square foot, especially if you maximize profits from the ATM.