Posts

How to Increase Security for an ATM

Increase Security for an ATM

How Can You Increase Security for an ATM and Safeguard Against Theft?

We all know ATM’s are like candy to would-be thieves. However, that doesn’t mean your ATM has to be a target. People target these machines because they are small and they think they store a lot of money.

In reality, most merchant-owned free standing ATM’s (the ones in stores) don’t contain much cash. Many store owners remove the cash each evening like a cash register.

As a store owner or ATM operator, there are certain precautions you can take to limit the chance that an ATM is stolen or broken into and increase security for an ATM.

It’s easy to add a camera monitor for your ATM machine to ensure that it puts a person at risk if they try and steal money from it. The more measures you take to secure your machine the less likely someone will attempt to steal money out of it.

  • Install surveillance cameras around your ATM. No one wants to be spotted on camera. Put one directly on top of the machine and another in a location that has a good view of the ATM. These camera systems are inexpensive and work great.
  • Hang a sign up in the area to let people know that it is under constant surveillance. Thieves will think twice before making an attempt to steal from the ATM when cameras are around. Several higher-end machines come with cameras installed inside to help lower the chance of theft.  The some of the new Genmega series ATMs have surveillance deterrents pre-installed at the factory.
  • Put your ATM near a brightly lit area. The more lit the area where the ATM is located, the less chance someone is going to try and break into it. Make sure that the area directly above the machine and surrounding area has the proper lighting. This will also help customers feel more at ease when completing a transaction. No one wants to withdraw cash from an ATM in an area that is dark. Added security to a machine can help protect the money inside and help draw in customers.
  • Place the machine inside your store. Properly secure windows and doors to prevent people from trying to break in and remove cash each evening like a cash register.
  • Install an alarm in your store so if someone tries to get inside they will trigger it. Your machine should be more secure if it is inside your business. An alarm usually makes criminals move to the next target where they don’t have alarms. Alarms are inexpensive these days and go a long way to make would be criminals think twice about breaking into your business to steal your ATM or any other valuables inside for that matter.

Protecting your investment is just good business. You do not need someone stealing from your ATM. Make sure your installer properly secures your machine to the floor or wall. Make sure the area surrounding your establishment is well-lit, and if you own and operate your ATM machines, simply remove the cash when you close and leave the safe door open is the best security measure. If the ATM in your store is operated by someone else, most of the suggestions above deter criminal activity. A few small protective measures is all it takes to increase security for an ATM and protect your valuables.

The Future of ATMs

The Future of ATMsWill ATMs Become Obsolete?

ATMs are far from becoming obsolete, we know this to be true. These machines are evolving into devices that can complete the same type of transactions as tellers. ATMs are also turning into machines that can help a person get cash in a matter of seconds as opposed to minutes. New machines will start popping up in the next few years that will change the way you think of automated banking. Get an idea of what’s to come in the future for ATMs.

Banks are adopting ATMs that resemble tablet devices. These machines take the place of a teller and can receive your check, dispense cash, and complete most transactions a teller would handle. This allows banks to provide superior customer service by providing tellers on the bank floor to greet customers and answer any questions present. Tablet ATMs do not threaten a teller’s job; they simply allow banks to create a more welcoming atmosphere for customers.

How will these New ATMs be More Convenient?

Gaming consoles have used motion sensor technology for years and now ATMs will too. A new motion sensor machine is currently being developed. People that are wary about germs on a keypad do not have to worry any longer. These ATMs allow users to use their hands to pass motions. A number of transaction options are available at these ATMs. The current design has a woman sitting to produce a calm mood for the person using this type of ATM.

We have all experienced waiting in line to withdraw quick cash while the person in front is completing a series of transactions. The Tower is an ATM that is designed specifically to dispense cash. This machine will speed up the lines so that people do not have to wait to get cash. A user sets up a withdrawal from their cell phone and then taps the machine to get cash. These machines can help people in need of quick cash move quickly while others complete longer transactions at traditional ATMs.

Another machine designed to get you money in seconds is the cash barrel dispenser. All that is required is your debit or credit card and thumbprint. There is a selection of withdrawal options available and within seconds a user can take cash. A machine like this takes the worry out of being cautious about inputting your pin number while at an ATM. No one can learn your personalized pin with an ATM that only requires your thumbprint.

Businesses can benefit from having multiple machines available for people to complete simple or complicated transactions. The different machines allow banks to provide customers with a variety of options to choose from to complete a transaction to their liking. The ATM machines of the future have unique designs and offer solutions to make lines move faster. An investment into one of the machines of the future can prove to help make customers pleased with the selection of ATMs available.

Getting More than Just Cash from an ATM

Getting More than Just Cash from an ATM

Are ATMs Going to Become Obsolete?

ATM machines will never grow out of popularity. Cash is always going to be in demand, but the other services an ATM provides might not be necessary any longer. Most banks accept checks through your smart phone now so you do not have to go to an ATM to deposit money into your account. Instead of going to an ATM to withdraw money to pay a friend you can transfer money into their account online. So what are the things an ATM can do that you did not know about? You’d be surprised at what you may find.

  • You can collect gold from an ATM in certain places now. There are already gold dispensing ATMs in places such as Europe. Now gold dispensing ATMs are popping up all over the world. Whenever you decide that you want to invest into gold then you can go to an ATM and withdraw this metal. The machine will literally display an up to date exchange rate so that you can make a wise investment.
  •  Learn about financial opportunities when you visit an ATM. The screens have become highly advanced and now let people look at advertisements. ATM screens now show people ads that target that individual. For instance, if you have recently married, the bank might show you an ad about great home loan rates offered. This type of advertising has helped a lot of people learn about financial opportunities they did not know were present.
  • Did you know you could play the lottery on certain ATMs? As long as the state lottery commission approves it you can purchase a lottery ticket through the machine. A ticket is printed right there on the spot. You can also have your numbers sent to your phone so that you can verify whether or not you are a winner as soon as the numbers are released. Money is taken directly out of your account for the number of tickets you purchase.
  • Pay your taxes at an ATM. You will need to bring some important documents to the machine, but it is possible to pay taxes on certain ATMs. This can take a small amount of time so it is not recommended if there is a line behind you. Once your taxes are filed you can choose to pay any debt right there on the spot. Paperwork is printed and an e-receipt is given to you as proof of paying your taxes.
  • Withdraw money and reload your mobile device if you are on a pre-paid plan. Certain ATMs allow you to add more minutes or data straight from the machine. Every transaction you complete will take money directly out of your account. When you go withdraw cash you may want to add more minutes or additional data to your phone after you have seen your account balance.
  • Limit your spending by setting a limit on yourself. Some banks now allow people to set a budget to follow each week and month. The ATM will notify you of your remaining budget balance on your printed statement balance after every transaction you complete. You are not obligated to follow the budget you set. The purpose of setting a budget is to try and manage your money better so that you do not overspend. This is a good tool to use if you are trying to save money and want to closely monitor your spending habits.

The ATM has evolved to allow people to complete dozens of tasks beyond taking money. One machine that is far from being obsolete is the ATM. ATMs are continuing to expand the range of tasks you may complete at the machines. You can now even apply for loans or make a donation straight from an ATM. Businesses should take note and invest into machines that allow people a range of options to conduct at an ATM to improve the amount of potential customers.

ATM Machines, A Buyer’s Guide (part 3)

A Buyer’s Guide (Part 3)

ATM Machine Buyers Guide image of Cash

If you’ve read part 2 of the [intlink id=”2013″ type=”post”]ATM Machines, A Buyers Guide[/intlink], you’re ready for part 3. Now you know if you want an automatic teller machine at your place of business or if you want to own and operate ATM machines as a business.

Let’s say you own a local brick and mortar business, but you don’t want to purchase the machine outright, you basically have three alternatives: leasing the ATM or arranging payments over time, opting for a free ATM placement program, or partnering in an ATM co-op program.

First, Leasing: Hardly anyone leases an ATM anymore. Most sales reps that try to lease ATM’s are looking for big commissions. It’s difficult to get a lease on a $2500 piece of equipment so they have to jack the price way up to get a leasing company to even consider it and then you’re paying them big commissions. It’s actually easier, cheaper and better to pay for the ATM with a credit card or to ask your bank for an equipment loan to include other equipment you may need in your business and to include the price of the ATM in the loan

First, if you really want to lease an ATM, (I’d like to talk you out of it) but you may need to search the Internet (or the yellow pages) for leasing companies located reasonably close to your business or get a recommendation from the vendor. Try sampling a few such companies to find the most favorable leasing terms – each company’s agreement will be different to some extent, but most leases go 5 years. First, and most importantly, you want to figure out who’s offering the lowest cost for a lease. Also, who determines how much your customers will have to pay in ATM fees to make your lease payment each month so you don’t have negative cash flow. Leasing companies will rarely over fund the equipment lease to give you extra cash to fill the ATM. Some business owners think this is a great idea, but the cost of that extra cash is very high and not worthwhile.

You should also compare the economics of leasing versus buying to be absolutely sure that you’d prefer to lease. Specifically, you should weigh the following factors:

  • If you’re planning on leasing a machine for a long time it would save you a lot of money in the long run just to purchase one.
  • If you can take out a loan at your bank verses leasing, that is the next best option instead.
    • Note that some vendors offer short term funding options such as 60 or 90 days. Since most ATM’s these days are typically under $2400 most business owners pay cash or use a credit card, however, we have seen deals where a merchant is able to put 50% down on a credit card and float the balance for 30 days.
  • Would buying an ATM allow you a substantial tax deduction – or could you get more tax deduction mileage out of deducting the annual costs of leasing an ATM?
  • Does it seem as though you’d stand to make a lot of money from ATM surcharge fees? If so, then owning an ATM might be the more lucrative proposition.

Second, Free Placement Programs: The next option for you as a business owner may be to consider entering into a free ATM placement program. If you’ve never heard of this option, you should know that free ATM programs have been around for a long time. What you have to do is find either a local or national ATM vendor that runs such a program and fill out an application.

Free placement programs typically require  that your business needs to be attracting a certain number of customers each day in order for you to earn acceptance. If you’re accepted, the vendor will ship an ATM to your business, install it, maintain it and service it as needed. Some free programs even take care of restocking the cash in the cash dispenser for you. In addition, you may qualify to receive some portion of the surcharges that the ATM collects, which the vendor will send you either through direct deposit or in the form of a check.

All in all, a free program is, no doubt, the easiest way for business owners to obtain an ATM. However, the profit potential from such a system, obviously, is much lower. Note, too, that companies offering free placement ATM’s will require a substantial amount of information about you and your business (they will even be delving into your bank account figures) before they approve you for such a program. While the free placement program sounds great, it takes the longest to get approved and returns the least amount of profit.  The pros are that you don’t have to deal with the ATM machine at all.  It may be easier to get approved from a small local company verses a large national company if you can find such a local entrepreneur willing to take on your business as part of their ATM portfolio.

Third, Co-Op Program: The last option to consider and a bit newer, is to enter into an ATM co-operative program. Under such an arrangement, you’d buy half the ATM and load the cash. That is, you’d be co-owner of the machine, paying for half of the upfront cost and half of all the operating and repair costs.

An ATM vendor, the other co-owner, would pay the other half of those costs. In a way, this kind of program splits the difference between owning an ATM yourself and getting a free placement or owning the ATM outright.  That is, you get a much larger share of the profits verse a free placement program would allow, but you also have more maintenance responsibilities. And, you’d get a lot less than if you owned the ATM outright yourself.

While co-op agreements, like leasing agreements, can vary widely, if you’re in such a program you’ll probably have to replace the receipt paper, load the cash as necessary and provide first line maintenance (FLM). FLM includes clearing a paper receipt jam or a cash jam. The co-op deal is more suited to a hands on business owner or manager who doesn’t necessarily have enough cash to purchase the machine outright. By the way, it’s your own cash that will go into the machine. And you’ll have to decide if you want o install any security features – a new camera or an alarm, for example or if you’ll just remove the cash from the ATM each evening like a cash register.

An extra benefit of the co-op program, however, is that the ATM vendor can figure out where to place the machine within your business, and can also provide you with helpful advice when you’re still a novice at ATM operations. That way, you can really maximize the profits you’ll get from your ATM. In some instances you can agree to a buyout over time if the vendor is in agreement.

Once you decide if you want to own the ATM or have someone else do it, it’s time to decide who is going to load the cash.  We’ll talk about that in the next ATM Machines, A Buyer’s Guide in the near future.  Have questions, [intlink id=”509″ type=”page”]contact us[/intlink].