If you are new to the ATM business, you might be shopping around for equipment and wondering which is a better deal: new or refurbished ATM machines.
If you are an experienced ATM owner, you might wonder what else is out there. Maybe you purchased new at first and are now considering adding refurbished ATM machines to your business. Or the opposite: you first purchased refurbished equipment and now wonder if that was the right move.
In this article we cover some main differences between new and refurbished ATM machines, particular advantages of refurbished ATM machines, and what red flags to look for.
Purchasing ATM equipment is a big deal. It’s a $2,000+ investment and is usually your biggest startup cost. Not every ATM business looks the same. So we want to make sure that you make the best decision for your business. Let’s weigh our options:
5 Differences Between New and Refurbished ATM Machines
Probably the most obvious difference between new and refurbished ATMs is the lifespan. A new ATM machine has an expected lifespan of about 15 years. So depending on the age of the machine, you could still get a good 10 or more years out of a refurbished one.
Refurbished doesn’t necessarily mean old. People sell their used machines for all kinds of reasons: they didn’t like the model, they decided another machine better suits their needs, they changed their mind about owning an ATM altogether, etc.
When shopping for a refurbished machine, consider how many years minimum you’d like to get out of it and compare that to the age of the machine.
A new ATM machine is going to come equipped with the latest technology, all of the best bells and whistles. A refurbished machine won’t, necessarily, but it will still perform all of the same basic functions.
When it comes to technology, you need to consider “nice to have” versus “need to have.” If you are an experienced ATM owner, you probably have a good idea of what features you for sure want your ATM to have and which you can do without, especially if it saves you a buck to let it go.
If you are a new ATM owner, you don’t have this experience, so you might expect and even want those bells and whistles at first. Only through experience will you be able to determine what features to budget for.
Technology improves with each new model. Customer feedback is used to make each upcoming machine better than the last. Therefore, typically, improved technology makes newer machines easier to use. So if you’re looking to purchase your first ATM or aren’t particularly tech savvy, you might want to play it safe and go with a machine that will be easy for you to handle.
On the other hand, if you’ve been in the ATM business a while and have experience with older machines, you probably won’t have a problem navigating the technology on an older, refurbished model.
Just as technology changes, so do regulations. New ATMs are going to be fully compliant right out of the gate, meeting ADA and EMV requirements. This isn’t a guarantee with refurbished ATM machines. However, upgrades are often available.
If you are looking at a refurbished machine that isn’t completely compliant but will meet standards with an upgrade, you might opt to go that route if the total still comes out to be less than just purchasing a fully-compliant, new machine.
5. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
This one is tricky. If you purchase a discounted, refurbished ATM machine but then have to invest in a number of upgrades, you might not end up saving as much money as you’d hoped.
In this case, it might be worth it to just purchase a fully-loaded, new ATM. So do a little research and some math before purchasing so that you know exactly how much your initial investment will be.
Additionally, ATMs are electronic machines. They have intricate moving parts, electrical components, and software that all need to be maintained and can fail at a moment’s notice. So this goes for both new and refurbished ATM machines. You should know you can’t predict certain glitches and failures.
So in terms of overall repair costs associated with your machine, it’s really a gamble either way. The main price point to consider is the cost of purchasing the machine itself. A 1-year-old, refurbished machine, for example, is going to be hundreds of dollars cheaper than a brand new machine. So it might be worth it to go refurbished in that case.
But again, if you’re looking at an older refurbished machine that will need a number of upgrades, consider the overall price difference once you’ve added up all of the expenses.
5 Advantages of Refurbished ATM Machines
1. Cost Effective
Just like any other high-end electronics, the newer they are the quicker they depreciate. Refurbished doesn’t mean old, it just means not brand new. So you could find a like-new ATM for hundreds of dollars less than a new machine just because you aren’t the first owner.
Or, you could find an older machine for even less than the like-new one. Machines will get cheaper with age, but that does not necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the machine. Quality depends on the machine itself and its maintenance. So, hands down, refurbished ATM machines are cheaper to purchase than new ones.
2. Lower Overhead
If you opt to save a few bucks and purchase a refurbished ATM instead of a brand new one, that allows you to profit quicker. Before you can profit off of your ATM transactions, you have to first make your return on investment (ROI). The smaller your investment, the quicker you can pay yourself back, and the quicker you can start making a profit.
The quicker you start making a profit, the more time you will spend profiting from your business. Say you purchase a brand new ATM for $3,000. You average 180 transactions a month at $2.50 each. You won’t start making a profit for about 7 months. So in a year, you have 5 profitable months.
On the other hand, if you only invest $2,000 in your machine, you start profiting in about 4 months allowing you to profit the other 8 months of the year. So not only do you invest less, but you also make more.
3. Long Lifespan
When we talk about refurbished ATM machines, we aren’t necessarily talking about 10-year-old machines. While you could get five good years out of that machine, you could also find a refurbished machine that is only a couple of years old. Even a 7-year-old machine has about 8 years of life left.
With an average lifespan of about 15 years, there’s still a lot of profit to be made from many refurbished machines. Just remember to check the age before purchasing.
4. Ready to Use
Most new ATMs are shipped directly from the factory. That means they need to be programmed during installation before they are ready to use. Refurbished machines, however, can often be programmed before they are shipped.
Purchasing a pre-programmed machine saves you time and potentially money if you don’t have to pay someone on-site to program your machine. And again, the sooner your machine is operational, the sooner you can start making money!
Plus, since refurbished equipment has already been in circulation, you’ll be equipped with plenty of reviews so you have a better idea of what to expect from your equipment. And in most cases you don’t even sacrifice product guarantees, warranties, upgrades, or customer service; these typically follow the equipment whether new or used. So you get the same support either way.
5. Environmentally Conscious
This may or may not matter to you, but it does make a compelling case for purchasing refurbished. Let’s consider what “refurbished” means:
Refurbished means the equipment is cleaned, polished, repaired, and upgraded. It gets a second, third, fourth life. Without these chances, a discarded machine gets sent to a landfill which is harmful to the environment. The more we can extend the life of electronic equipment such as ATM machines, the less waste and pollution we create.
Just because a machine is used does not mean it isn’t fully-functional. So the more we can refurbish and reuse equipment, the less demand there is for brand new equipment to be manufactured. We must produce less to pollute less.
The United States alone is responsible for 14% (63 million tons) of the world’s electronic waste. Only about 20% of electronics are recycled. So by purchasing refurbished equipment, you help cut down on the 80% of waste created by new equipment. When you purchase refurbished equipment, you fight back against consumer culture focusing on “need to have” versus “nice to have.”
5 Things to Look For When Purchasing Refurbished ATM Machines
Depending on the age of the equipment and the quality of the refurbishment, a used ATM machine might not automatically meet current compliance standards. So before you commit to purchasing a refurbished machine, you need to check for the following:
Is it upgradable? Does it have a headphone jack? Is the highest touchpoint less than 4’ 8”? Is it EMV enabled or can a kit be installed?
Some machines are just too old to be upgraded. Others are too costly. The Triton 9100, for example, needs a new keyboard before an EMV kit can be installed. Therefore, it is too expensive to make compliant. After calculating the cost of the keyboard and kit, you might as well just purchase a new machine.
Similarly, the Cress/Tranax MB210 is so old that no upgrade is available. This hurts ATM operation, ability to keep up in the market, and essentially your ATM business as a whole.
Think twice before purchasing a machine over 10 years old. Since most machines work well for about 15 years, the closer your machine is to that mark the less life you can expect to get from it.
Furthermore, check the ATM version to make sure it’s upgradable. Without upgrades, your service will suffer. If the manufactured date is before 2012, it will probably need an ADA upgrade. But funding this will likely counteract any savings on the machine itself.
And of course, before you purchase a machine, make sure it works. Calculate repair costs and make sure you are still getting a good deal after it’s all said and done.
3. Discontinued Models
You can find crazy deals on machines that no longer function on ATM networks. They’ve been discontinued and are only valuable for parts. Don’t get taken by surprise. You don’t want to purchase a machine just to find out that it doesn’t work with your provider.
Examples of discontinued ATM machines include the Triton 9600, Triton 9700, WRG Apollo, and WRG Genesis. If you come across or have experience with any of these, ATMDepot.com provides recommendations for similar replacement machines.
4. Refurbishment Quality
Not all used ATM machines are advertised as refurbished, so inquire before you buy. You also want to check the quality of the refurbishment. A quick, poor, “blow and go” job will end up costing you more money down the line on repairs and maintenance that should have been taken care of during the refurbishment.
A certified refurbishment, by definition, should include specific standards checks, detailing, and upgrades. Decals should be replaced, the newest software installed, and security updated.
A well-refurbished ATM machine can and should last at least 10 years. But a bad refurbishment can end up costing you more in the long run than a new machine.
It isn’t wise to go into the market for a refurbished machine with a specific make and model in mind. Unless you have time to wait, refurbished machines are sold based on availability, so you have to be willing to compromise and choose from what’s in stock.
Should You Purchase Refurbished ATM Machines?
Now that you know what to expect from new vs. refurbished ATM machines, hopefully you have a better idea of what ATM equipment is best for you.
What it really comes down to is experience. If you’ve been in the ATM business for a while, know your way around a machine, and are looking to add more ATMs to your business, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing a certified refurbished ATM machine.
If you are a first-time ATM owner, it might be a better idea to purchase new. It’s going to be easier to use and you’ll get to experience the best and newest technology so that you can learn a little bit more about what you can expect from a typical machine. Here you can check out our new and refurbished ATM machines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us! Remember, each ATM business looks a little different. We can help you find what works for you.