Posts

Choosing ATM Equipment: Pros and Cons of an Outdoor ATM

Should you operate an indoor or outdoor ATM? If you’re thinking about purchasing an ATM machine, one of the first things you have to determine is where you’re going to put the machine. 

You’ve probably seen and even used an ATM both indoors and outdoors. But what are the major differences when it comes to owning an ATM? We’ve got your answers.

Here we’ve outlined the major pros and cons of operating an outdoor ATM, but it essentially comes down to availability. What spaces are even options for you? Let’s start there.

Choosing a Location

Choosing a location, or a place to put your machine, is one of the very first things you have to do before you even order your machine. Our article Choosing an ATM Location goes in-depth on where to look for locations, the best ATM locations, and how to negotiate with location owners to develop a partnership.

It’s a great place to start when it comes to scouting for locations. If you already have a location picked out and you have the option to place an ATM machine either indoors or outdoors at that location, then skip on down to the pros and cons of an outdoor ATM.

If you have not settled on a location yet, here are some things you need to consider:

First, do you already own a business where you plan to use the ATM? Do you think you might lease a plot or property where you’ll install the ATM? Or do you think you’ll approach local business owners to gauge their need for an ATM machine and potentially start a partnership?

Whatever your answer is (or ends up being) might determine for you whether you need an indoor or outdoor ATM. Once you settle on a location, you might find that there isn’t room indoors for the ATM. Or the opposite might be true. The location might not be able to facilitate an outdoor ATM machine. 

If you end up working with a site location owner, his or her preference might affect the decision as well. Maybe there’s room indoors for the ATM but the location owner doesn’t want to give up that space. Or alternatively, maybe the site location owner would rather the ATM be inside to get customers into the store.

Next are some pros and cons of outdoor ATM machines.

Pros of Choosing an Outdoor ATM

There are some clear benefits of operating an outdoor ATM. First, you have the potential to earn more revenue. Second, you potentially have more flexible access to your machine. And third, they can be space savers.

Save Space

If you own a retail store or business, or if you are partnering with a site location owner and you want to add an ATM to the business, there’s a chance the space isn’t available inside the store. 

Maybe there’s too much inventory and to get rid of something will just cause you to break even with ATM revenue. Or maybe the only space available isn’t visible enough or convenient for customers.

If this is the case, you might want to consider putting an ATM outside of the store. It can be close to the front door, in view of the register or desk so that it can still be monitored during business hours even though it’s not inside. 

That way you don’t have to get rid of anything else inside of the store to make room. And you don’t have to worry about owning a machine that no one sees or uses. The more visible and easier to access the machine, the more users and therefore more revenue for you.

Earn More Revenue

There’s a good chance an outdoor ATM could warrant more users than an indoor ATM. It depends on your specific location, of course, but an indoor ATM might be seen more by people who are already customers while an outdoor ATM is available to all passers by.

Additionally, and this is the biggest benefit, you have the ability to offer 24-hour access to an outdoor ATM. An indoor ATM is really only “in business” during the hours of operation of the store or business where it’s housed. So you increase the opportunities for transactions and therefore earn more revenue that way.

Not only do users have 24-hour access to an outdoor ATM, but you do too.

More Flexibility

Unless the site location owner gives you a key or access to the store after hours, you really only have access to your machine while the store is open. If you have to refill cash or receipt paper or conduct any maintenance or cleaning on the machine, you have a window in which to do so. 

This might not be so convenient for you if you have a day job or other obligations which overlap with the store hours. If the ATM is outdoors, though, you can access the machine when it’s most convenient for you regardless of whether or not the store is open for business.

You could of course coordinate with the site location owner to perform certain routine tasks or maintenance in your absence. But it might just be more convenient to house the ATM outside if you have the option. 

Plus, the more responsibilities you put on the site location owner, the more revenue you have to spit. You’ll have to make that deal in your site location agreement (SLA). So it might be more cost effective for you to handle those responsibilities on an outdoor ATM rather than leave yourself at the mercy of the site location owner.

Although there are plenty of great reasons to operate an outdoor ATM when you have the option, there are unfortunately some risks as well.

Cons of Choosing an Outdoor ATM

An outdoor ATM is not always the best option. It’s perfectly fine to operate an outdoor ATM if that is your only option. But if you are deciding between indoor and outdoor you might want to consider some of the downfalls associated with operating an outdoor ATM.

First, they can be more expensive to set up and maintain. Second, you could lose out on revenue depending on where you’re located. Last, you have to compete with the weather.

Weather Constraints

On particularly hot or cold days, or days when it’s raining, snowing, or particularly windy, users will probably prefer to use an indoor ATM rather than an outdoor ATM. However, if you are the only ATM for blocks, you might retain those users by default. But if your neighbor has an indoor ATM, you might lose business to him or her on days when the weather isn’t great.

Loss of Revenue

Besides losing customers due to weather, you could also lose customers who prefer to use indoor ATMs for safety reasons. Indoor ATMs are less accessible to vandals which makes it less likely that a user’s information will be compromised on an indoor ATM. 

Indoor ATMs are also under the watchful eye of the store or business owner as well as other patrons. So this could encourage users to use an indoor ATM as well. But again, if you’re in a location where ATMs are scarce, you might still get a lot of business on an outdoor ATM regardless of these safety concerns.

But you still have to make sure customers feel safe using your outdoor ATM.

Additional Expenses

An outdoor ATM is available to users 24 hours 7 days a week. But it’s also available then to vandals and thieves. To prevent damage and tampering on your outdoor ATM, you’ll want to invest in a quality security system. You might also need to provide your own lighting if your ATM is located in a dim area.

You might even be required to provide certain security measures based on the safety and security laws of your state and municipality. 

Outdoor ATMs are also vulnerable to the weather. Exposure to the elements could cause you to get less life out of your ATM if it’s outside rather than inside. To extend the life of your machine, you should invest in a cover or awning for your outdoor ATM.

Most ATMs are weather protected which can help prevent unnecessary damage, but exposure can still affect the lifespan of your ATM. Weatherproof and weatherized ATMs are both made to withstand harsh weather conditions. 

A weather resistant ATM, however, is not going to be as resilient as a weatherproof ATM. So you’ll definitely need some sort of cover for a weather resistant ATM. And all outdoor ATMs should be temperature protected for the best results.

Other Outdoor ATM Options

If you’re still unsure whether to go with an indoor or outdoor ATM, you could look into a through-the-wall (TTW) ATM. Or, if you are considering purchasing an ATM for outdoor events, a mobile ATM could be the way to go.

Through-the-Wall (TTW) ATM Machines

Through-the-wall (TTW) ATM machines can be set up to have the chassis (front) facing outside while the interface (back) remains inside the building. TTW ATMs are heavier and bulkier than other ATMs because the interface has to be inserted into the wall extending into another room. 

You might see a TTW ATM in an office building or lobby where the front or screen faces out toward the customers and the interface extends into the next room that is locked and only accessible to authorized personnel. But to facilitate this, you have to have the hole cut in the wall for installation.

So this might not be the best option if you are considering an outdoor ATM due to space concerns. However, if you have indoor space but want the 24-hour access of an outdoor machine, consider a TTW ATM where customers can use the ATM outside but you can safely load cash from inside the store either during business hours or behind locked doors.

If that’s the case, a TTW ATM is more accessible to users while also offering better security.

Mobile ATM Machines

Mobile ATM machines are pretty much intended for outdoor use. They are great options for fairs, farmers markets, concerts, etc. Any major event where attendees have the option to purchase merchandise or make donations is the perfect place for an ATM.

Rather than carry an excess amount of cash on them, patrons can withdraw the exact amount they need for their purchases when it’s necessary and minimize the risk of extra cash being lost or stolen.

Since mobile ATMs are intended for temporary, pop-up, outdoor events, they are often equipped with overhead lights and security cameras since the location will vary. But of course your placement should be secure as well. You want the ATM in an area with a lot of foot traffic, not isolated. This is better for increasing transactions but also for security.

Make sure the location is well-lit, under watchful eye, and protected by a tent in the case of inclement weather. However, mobile ATMs are built to withstand the worst weather conditions. They are typically water-resistant and include advanced temperature control systems to heat them up or cool them down depending on the season.

When to Choose an Outdoor ATM

There are just as many pros as cons to choosing an outdoor ATM machine. So there’s a chance you might still be on the fence. In summary, then, remember these main points:

  • The safety concerns associated with outdoor ATMs need to be offset by adequate lighting, lots of foot traffic, and a first-rate security system.
  • Although outdoor ATMs can be more expensive to maintain, they typically receive more transactions—enough to justify the expense. Just calculate your investment and set your surcharge accordingly to reach your ROI as soon as possible.

If you can meet these requirements with an outdoor location, you have the opportunity to make more of a profit than you would with an indoor ATM. Weigh your options carefully and contact us if you have any questions!

Where Should I Place My ATM?

Where Should I Place My ATM?

Where Should I Place My ATM

To really maximize the profits you earn from your business’s automatic teller machine, you need to place that machine in the right location. ATM placement is an art, not a science, however, even experts on the topic can sometimes disagree about ATM placement strategies. So consider the following an introduction to the factors that go into this important decision.

First and foremost, your customers won’t want to use your ATM unless they feel safe doing so. Therefore, install your ATM someplace in your business that’s lit brightly, somewhere under the watchful eye of a security camera, perhaps with a visible alarm system within arm’s reach.

You also have to decide whether to install your ATM indoors or outdoors. Outdoor ATM’s can be accessed twenty-four hours a day, of course, but they’re more vulnerable to vandals and thieves. You’ll have to invest in a first-rate (in other words, expensive) security system. There might even be specific safety/security laws in your state and municipality dictating the kinds of security measures you’re required to have in place for an outdoor ATM. In addition, during the day many customers prefer using indoor rather than outdoor ATM’s, as they feel safer doing so. In that regard, you might actually lose some ATM business if you place your automatic teller machine outside.

If you manage a large complex, such as a shopping mall or a resort hotel, then choosing the spot in which to install your ATM becomes significantly more challenging. Many such facilities set up an ATM in the lobby, believing that customers expect to find ATM’s there, and also believing that a lobby is a safe place because it receives so much traffic all day long. And many hotels, malls and even hospitals decide to maintain more than one on-site ATM. For instance, a hotel might find it worth the investment to put an ATM on every floor. If you decide to go this route, it probably makes sense to put the ATM at the same location on each floor – just to the left of the elevator, for instance.

You don’t have to run a business with multiple floors in order to derive benefit from multiple ATM’s, though. Even if you own, for example, a fairly large, one-story convenience store, you might find that if you purchase more than one ATM, and place those ATM’s in opposite sections of your store, those ATM’s will increase your profit margins each month.

One of the longest-running debates when it comes to the placement of ATM’s is this: Should you put an ATM right next to the front door of your establishment? There are passionate advocates on both sides of this argument. Those who say that an ATM should go beside the front door can site statistics indicating that putting an ATM here greatly increases the usage that ATM will get over time. Some studies have even said that an ATM beside the front door gets twice as many transactions as an ATM placed in, say, one of the far corners of a business’s interior.

On the other hand, the case against putting an ATM by the front door is also convincing. First, if you attract lots of customers each day, an ATM next to the door could cause congestion around that door. People lining up here might even block the entrance. And if potential customers walking by on the street see this commotion, they might be discouraged from entering your establishment, thus costing you business. Even worse, a line of customers near your front door might constitute a minor fire hazard, should that line be thick enough. And if your front door is glass, it might be tempting for drug addicts and other amateur robbers to break the glass at night, step inside and try to loot your ATM.

If you have no idea how many ATM’s to buy, or where to place them, you can always contact experts at an ATM consulting service. They’ll be able to analyze your floor plan and your flow of traffic and tell you the best place to put your machine(s).

ATM Machines, A Buyer’s Guide

ATM Machine Buyer’s Guide (Part 1) 

ATM Machine Buyers Guide image of CashOur hope is that this ATM Machine Buyer’s Guide helps you navigate some of the known pitfalls in the business. This will be a three part series. Be sure to click the next part in the series at the bottom of each post when you’re ready to proceed.

All kinds of businesses now maintain automatic teller machines, including supermarkets and  restaurants. That’s because ATM’s offer several benefits to business owners.

When you set up an ATM inside your establishment, you may see a spike in the number of your customers. And, with that source of money at hand, some of your customers may be inclined to spend more money. In addition, you might also find that you start receiving fewer checks which means less risk at the point of sale. Of course, you’ll also end up paying fewer processing fees for credit cards as well. But what things should you know before you go out and purchase one or more of these machines?

First, do some research and a few calculations before you contact an ATM vendor. Figure out, roughly, how many people come into your business on an average day. If that number is fewer than 150, and certainly if it’s fewer than 100, getting an ATM may not have an attractive ROI, however the other benefits may be what you’re looking for.  Just because you have minimal traffic in your location doesn’t mean your ATM won’t be worth the investment.

We’ve been in the ATM business for over 2 decades now and we’ve seen over the past few years that the general rule of thumb for the number of monthly transactions that your ATM will perform is relative to the the number of people that come into your establishment plus or minus a factor of 10% – 15% depending on the location, type of establishment and several other factors.

If for example you have a high end restaurant with table cloths and a bar, your ATM machine will perform much lower than these averages since this type of clientele typically pays with a credit card. If however you have a quick service restaurant, a bar and grill, local tavern, a nightclub or even a commercial building or parking lot we have seen these types of locations do very well, especially if the business does not accept credit cards. We have also seen customers convert from credit and debit cards to ATM usage with the implementation of coupons or other incentives for use.

One of the best ways to tell if buying an ATM for your location is right for you is to speak to your customers. Ask them if they’d be interested in using an ATM if you had one at your place, or if you often get requests or if customers ask where the nearest ATM machines is, that is a good indication that it would be a wise investment.  Obviously, if you get some positive feedback from your clients, you can advance to the next step: figuring out what kind of automatic teller machine to purchase.

Free Standing Hantle Tranax 1700W ATM MachineThe most common kind of ATM is the kind that stands up on its own, also known as a “free standing ATM”.  These free standing ATM machines require approx 3 sq ft in front of them for ADA compliance (about 36″ for a wheel chair). The machines themselves have a very small foot print and run anywhere from 14″ x 14″ up to 20″ x 20″ still relatively very little floor space for the return on investment.  Even with the diminutive size of the newest free standing ATM machines, if you don’t think you have enough room, you might opt for some of the newest tabletop or counter top models.
Alternatively, you may even consider purchasing an ATM that’s inserted into a wall (also known as a Thru-the-Wall “TTW” model), although this is often a great option for a place of business to plan for during tenant improvements, it is still fairly easy to cut a hole in a wall and retrofit it for a TTW ATM. While these thru-the-wall ATM machines costs a little more than the free standing machines, they are perfect for exterior installations such as sidewalk facing locations or locations facing a parking lot or a busy downtown location.

The Amazing Money MachineThese machines typically have much higher usage since they are exposed to walk by traffic 24 hours a day. If you are considering a TTW ATM, you’ll still need to consider space for the inside part of the ATM which is typically less than a free standing ATM since the ADA portion of the ATM is outside and usually unobstructed. While it is more expensive to install a TTW unit due to the additional construction costs you’ll also need to consider the timing of the install to minimize the noise and descriptiveness of the construction which can typically be completed in a weekend.

TTW ATM Machine GenmegaAnother choice is the outdoor ATM. (These ATM’s may also be inserted into a wall.) Outdoor ATM’s can be used 24 hours a day, and therefore they let you collect ATM fees 24 hours a day! This option, obviously, will save you interior space, too. A downside to an outdoor ATM however, is that depending on the location, your outdoor ATM may require proper lighting so people will feel safe using the ATM; and, depending on the area, you may consider some sort of surveillance cameras. Most outdoor ATM machines are weather protected but if you want the highest possible usage, you’d be smart to consider some kind of protection from the weather for the ATM users, again depending on the type of deployment and the weather in the area. While outdoor ATM’s can be more expensive to keep up, they typically have much higher usage and therefor justify the expense.

Keeping your motivation in mind, this ATM Machine Buyer’s guide is meant to help you not only decide if an ATM is right for you as a business, but is it right for the location where you’re going to put it, and, will your customers use it. If you’re main motivation is to offset credit card fees, almost certainly a free standing ATM will help with that. If you’re motivation is to make more money just from the ATM usage, a thru-the-wall  machine available 24 hours will product much more profit in the right installation.

Your ATM decision-making process doesn’t stop there. A list of other questions you need to answer would include: See ATM Machines, A Buyer’s Guide part 2.