Tag Archive for: surcharge

3 Tips for Determining Your ATM Surcharge Fee

Your ATM surcharge fee is how you make money as an ATM owner. The service you provide is convenient access to bank accounts and cash. For users to take advantage of that convenience, they pay you a small surcharge fee per ATM withdrawal transaction. 

One of the most important steps involved in starting your ATM business is determining the surcharge fee you want to impose. You need to have this number at the time of completing the necessary paperwork with your ATM processor. But how do you know how much to charge before you’ve even been in business?

In this article, we’ll provide you with three tips you can use to help determine the right ATM surcharge fee.

Surcharge Fee Guidelines


It will be helpful to look at a range of ATM surcharge fees to start. Typically, surcharge fees range from about $1-$8. There are even surcharge-free ATMs, but these are usually operated by store owners themselves where the extra traffic the machine brings into the store makes enough revenue to support the machine and then some.

Low End

At the ATMs you visit day to day near restaurants, convenience stores, and retailers, you’re likely to see ATM surcharge fees range from about $2-$3. This is the average surcharge fee you can expect. It’s also on the low end. 

The more ATM machines there are in an area, the lower the surcharge will be in order to be competitive. The lower surcharge also corresponds to the average withdrawal amount. Patrons of restaurants, convenience stores, and retailers typically withdraw $60-$100 ($60 being the average withdrawal amount) where a surcharge over $3 starts to become an inconvenient, illogical, and unfair percentage of the actual transaction.

High End

Therefore, ATMs in and near establishments where patrons stay longer and spend more can charge a higher surcharge fee with success. Patrons of casinos, bars, and clubs need cash where they are; it isn’t convenient for them to travel off of the premises to search for an ATM with a lower surcharge.

Additionally, the withdrawal amounts are typically higher at these locations. It makes more sense to pay $5 to withdraw $300 than it does to withdraw $60. For these reasons, surcharge fees upwards of $5 are still convenient and not seen as outrageous at these locations.

Any location with a liquor license can get away with charging higher surcharge fees. When customers drink or are having a good time, the extra cost is worth it to continue the fun, not to mention the fact that our inhibitions are lowered when we are filled with dopamine.

These are the typical surcharge fees you can expect from various locations. To set your own surcharge fee, keep reading for more factors that will affect your success.

Tip #1: Set the Surcharge Fee with the Customer in Mind

You don’t make any money if customers don’t use your ATM machine. So you want to make sure that your surcharge fee is convenient for them while still compensating for your time and effort. 

Therefore, you need to know who your customers are and what they need. This will depend heavily on the location of your ATM machine. 

If your machine is in a low-income neighborhood where account balances might be low, withdrawal amounts will also be low, and users will expect to pay less per transaction. If money is tight, it might be worth it for users to plan a trip to the bank rather than use an ATM with a high surcharge.

Alternatively, ATM users in high-income areas and higher account balances will be able to conduct higher withdrawal transactions and aren’t likely to flinch at a surcharge of $3+.

You also want to consider the price of convenience for your customers. If there are a number of other ATM machines in the vicinity, you might be forced to charge a more competitive surcharge fee. On the other hand, of course, if yours is the only ATM machine around, customers will understand paying more for the convenience of using your particular machine.

Above all, be wary of setting too high of a surcharge fee. If customers don’t want to pay it, they won’t use your machine and you will lose out on revenue. You make more money charging $2 per 10 customers than $3 per 5.

Tip#2: Discuss the Surcharge Fee with the Location Owner

If you place your ATM in someone else’s store or business, you need to consider the location owner’s needs and wants as well. The location owner knows the clientele best, so consult with him or her to determine a fair surcharge that brings in more business rather than driving it away. 

The location owner wants to bring traffic to the location, and therefore might propose a lower surcharge than you. However, if you are sharing some of the ATM revenue with the location owner, you want to make sure that your share is enough to make a profit after expenses. Collaborate with the location owner to strike a fair deal when determining the surcharge fee for your ATM.

Tip #3: Use the Surcharge Fee to Speed Up ROI

When first setting your surcharge fee with your ATM processor, you might want to err on the high end. You can’t make a profit until you meet your return on investment (ROI), and you’re going to make that amount back quicker with a higher surcharge.

Your initial investment might include the cost of the machine, additional features like a topper or security camera, and upgrades like a removable cassette or e-lock. Everything that you spent in order to get your ATM business started you need to make back first. Then, whatever you make after that earns you profit.

Remember, too, that the revenue generated by your ATM machine needs to cover regular expenses as well. This includes receipt paper, insurance if you have it, and whatever costs are associated with cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. So keep these costs in mind when setting your surcharge.

Determining Your Surcharge Fee

Pick a dollar amount. Multiply that by about 5 transactions a day. Multiply that by 30 days. That should give you a rough estimate of how much revenue to expect in a month. Now, subtract the location owner’s share and any monthly expenses associated with operating the machine.

Once you have that number, you can determine two things: 

  1. How long it will take to meet your ROI
  2. How much profit you will make

If the answer to #1 is too long for your comfort, raise the surcharge. If the answer to #2 is too small, raise the surcharge. 

In our article, How Much Can My ATM Machine Make, we provide some formulas and calculators you can use to get more accurate estimates. Play around until you get a number you are satisfied with.

Remember that you can always adjust the surcharge fee to find a good balance of convenience and revenue. You aren’t stuck with the surcharge fee you set when filling out your paperwork. Start with a higher surcharge to meet your ROI quicker, then lower it. Experiment to find out which surcharge amount brings in the most users and results in the most revenue. It’s okay to use trial and error to find a surcharge fee that works for you, the location owner, and your customers. If you’d like more guidance or want to know more about what to expect from a particular location, contact us today!

How to Complete Your ATM Business Basic Checklist

This ATM business basic checklist is for you to use as you go through the process of operating an ATM machine. If you’re looking for more of a step-by-step guide, check out our article How to Start an ATM Business in 5 Steps

However, if you are looking for a list of what needs to be done, this is it. Once you have completed each item in this ATM business basic checklist, you will officially be in business. You can’t neglect any of these items if you want to start operating your own ATM machines!

1. How to Find a Processor

What is ATM Processing?

You need to work with an ATM processing company so that your ATM machine can communicate with your customers’ banks. An ATM processor identifies the network of each card inserted into your ATM machine, routes the information to the user’s bank, verifies the funds, then receives approval from the bank to dispense the withdrawal amount up to what’s available in the account. Check out our video here for more information.

Factors to Consider

Although ATM processing is pretty basic, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing an ATM processing company. It is in your best interest to research a variety of companies to find the one that is going to best suit your business needs and transaction volume.

Now, if you’re just getting started, you might not know your transaction volume yet. But your processor might. Find an experienced company that will be able to assist you throughout your entire career as an ATM owner. 


An experienced company will be able to give you advice regarding the location you choose (keep reading this ATM business basic checklist for more information on choosing a location) as well as how much you can expect to make from that location or from alternative locations.


You also want to work with an ATM processing company that wants you to make money. A company that acts as a business partner will offer you support throughout your entire career, not just during the initial setup. The company should offer training, ongoing support, and dependable support (meaning they answer the phone when you call…).

Other Services

Finally, you want to know what additional services the company provides. Not all ATM machines work with all processing companies, so if you choose a processor before your equipment, you might want to know if they also sell equipment. Because they will only sell machines that they can support.

If you purchase your equipment before choosing a processing company, you will have to make sure the company can support it. (More on deciding machine type next.) And you can switch processors after you are already in operation. Your needs might change, or you might not get the service you expect from your current processing company. In these cases, you will need to switch to a company that can support the machines you already have. 

Other services you might want to consider are vaulting, remote monitoring, and automated payments. This business is all about building passive income. So you want to minimize your workload as much as possible.

You can load your ATM machine (vaulting) yourself to make as much profit as you can. But if this isn’t convenient for you, your ATM processing company might offer this service. 

Remote monitoring allows you to track your machine’s activity and cash availability which makes it easier for you to keep it stocked and minimize downtime. And automated payments prevent you from having to spend time making transfers yourself and constantly online banking. The less time you spend managing your ATM, the more passive income you make.

When looking for an ATM processor, look for a business partner. Find out more about how to choose an ATM processor here.

2. How to Decide on Your Machine Type

You have lots of options when it comes to choosing ATM equipment. If you’ve already chosen an ATM processing company to work with, you will have to narrow your search to machines the company can support. If the company sells machines, this might be the simplest item on this ATM business basic checklist!

Machine Type

First, you need to decide if you want a freestanding machine, a through-the-wall (TTW) machine, or a wall mount machine. The three most important factors to consider when it comes to machine type are cost, space, and security.

TTW machines are the largest of the three types and therefore cost a little more. However, they are more secure because the vault extends into another room that can be secured during regular operation and vaulting. Unfortunately, they require a lot of space and some construction work to allow the machine to fit into the wall if the space doesn’t already exist.

Freestanding machines are smaller than TTW and are therefore a little cheaper. You also have more flexibility with the placement of a freestanding machine. Likely, a majority of the ATM machines you see day to day are freestanding.

Wall mount machines are the smallest of the three types. They are also the cheapest, but they don’t hold as much cash. Wall mount machines are a good option for slower locations. Despite the name, this type can be mounted to a countertop as well which makes them easy and convenient to place; they don’t take up a lot of space.


Some of the biggest names in ATM equipment are Hyosung, Genmega, Hantle, and Triton. All are reputable companies that have been in the business for a long time and are known for producing quality equipment. 

Check out our ATM Buyers Guide for more guidance on choosing the ATM equipment that’s best for your business. We also compare Hyosung and Genmega, the two top of the line ATM manufacturers.

New vs. Refurbished

Finally, you have to weigh the pros and cons of a new vs. refurbished machine. It really comes down to your budget, your experience, and machine availability. 

We recommend starting with a new ATM machine at least for your first one. Newer models come with improved features and advanced technology making them easier to operate.

However, refurbished ATMs are also good options. It just depends on what is available and the quality of the refurbishment. If you have your heart set on a specific manufacturer or model, you might not be able to easily find what you’re looking for; you will more likely have to choose from what’s available. 

Most importantly, make sure you purchase certified refurbished if you choose to go this route. This guarantees that the machine has had standards checks, detailing, and upgrades applied.

3. How to Place Your ATM

If you own your own store, you can go ahead and mark this off of your ATM business basic checklist! If you plan to place your machine in someone else’s business or store, consider these factors:

  • Foot traffic
  • Proximity to other ATMs
  • Proximity to you
  • Liquor license

The busier the location is, the better the location’s reviews are, the more people that pass by it every day, the better your ATM is going to perform. People can’t use your machine if they don’t pass by it or see it, so you want to get as many eyes on your machine as possible.

You also want to corner the market. You will get more users the farther away your machine is from other machines. This way, you aren’t sharing customers; yours is the most convenient!

Remember that the goal is to build passive income. So the less time you spend managing your machine, the more you make! This is why it’s important to choose a location that’s convenient for you, too. If it’s close to the route you take often, either to and from home or work, you make more with less time and work (and gas!).

Finally, keep in mind that locations that have a liquor license are able to charge more for transactions. In our article 9 Best Locations for ATM Machines we share our experiences with ATMs in various locations. If you need help approaching location owners, check out our tips for cold calling or join ATM Depot’s Members Area for access to scripts you can use to negotiate a deal.

4. How to Decide Your Surcharge

Setting your surcharge is all about strategy. You want to strike a balance between a transaction fee that’s convenient for your users and profitable for you. If you’re just getting started, you need to make your return on investment (ROI) before you can start making a profit, so you want to do this quickly. There are two ways you can do this:

First, you can set a surcharge that is lower than the competition to increase the number of transactions your machine receives. Second, you can match the competition or set a higher surcharge to try to make more per transaction. 

However, it isn’t as simple as that. It all depends on your location, the amount of foot traffic, the demand for your service, and your proximity to other machines.

Fortunately, we have a comprehensive guide for How to Set Your ATM Surcharge. Furthermore, you can always adjust your surcharge, so don’t stress out about it too much. Trial and error will play a big role in making sure you get it just right!

Completing Your ATM Business Basic Checklist

You know what you need to do, but how do you do it? This ATM business basic checklist is just the start. That’s why choosing the right ATM processing company is so important. Because you want support from beginning to end. Whether it’s asking questions, strategizing, or filling your pockets, your ATM processor should be there every step of the way making sure that you are successful. If you have questions about choosing a processor, purchasing ATM equipment, placing your ATM, or setting your surcharge, contact us today!

ATM Business Basic Checklist via ATMDepot.com
Want to start your own ATM Business? Make sure you check off all of the items on this checklist before you get started so that you’re prepared.

7 Tips for Maximizing ATM Revenue in 2022

We’ve talked about maximizing ATM revenue before, but we think it bears repeating. Plus, some things have changed in the economy and the industry in recent years. So, here is a modified, modernized, fresh list of things you can do to maximize your ATM revenue this year.

What is ATM Revenue?

Your ATM revenue is the money your machine brings in. So, how many people use your ATM in a day? A month? A year? The number of transactions made multiplied by your surcharge equals your revenue. The more revenue you make, the more profit you make because that means there is more left over after you cover business expenses. Maximum revenue is good for your business, and it’s good for you!

How to Make ATM Revenue Projections

There are a couple of ways you can predict your revenue and set revenue goals. First, if your ATM machine is in a store, restaurant, or other business, you might expect an average of 200 customers to visit the establishment every day. Now, the ATM industry estimates that about 1-5% of people who see an ATM actually use it, so you can count on about 6 or so people using your machine each day.

Another way to figure revenue projections is to determine how many adult patrons the establishment sees in a day. This should equal (plus or minus 10%) the same number of ATM transactions your machine will have in a month. This number might be a little lower if the establishment accepts credit cards or offers cash back at the point of sale (POS). 

For estimation’s sake, then, say the establishment where your machine is located sees 200 patrons a day. At the higher end of the spectrum, you could expect 200 ATM transactions in a month. At the lower end of the spectrum, you might expect 20-40% less (120-160). Multiplied by an average surcharge of about $3.00, you’re looking at a range of about $360-$480 in revenue each month.

Now, these figures won’t be exact. As you can see from the following list, there are a number of factors to take into consideration when it comes to maximizing your ATM revenue. So if you are experiencing numbers lower than the projections you get from the formulas, try implementing one or more of these 7 tips.

How to Maximize ATM Revenue

1. Adjust Surcharge

One of the most obvious ways to bring in more money is to adjust the surcharge. This is, after all, where your revenue comes from. However, while raising your surcharge could bring in more revenue, it could also deter customers if it’s too high.

If you already have a relatively high surcharge (the average is about $3.00), lowering it might bring in more users. Eight transactions at $2.50 is more than 6 transactions at $3.00. So you’ll want to experiment to find the sweet spot. 

Your surcharge fee will also depend on your competition. Consider the rates of nearby ATM machines. If you can offer a lower surcharge, you might be able to corner the market. If you don’t have any competition, you might be able to increase your surcharge without compromising the number of transactions you see.

And don’t forget, if your ATM is located in an establishment with a liquor license, your surcharge could be upwards of $4.00. So the establishment where your machine is located is a factor as well.

2. Diversify Denominations

Believe it or not, not all denominations perform the same in every location. In areas where there are more high dollar withdrawal amounts, higher denominations like 20s are standard and convenient for users. However, ATMs in areas where people prefer to withdraw smaller amounts of cash at a time perform better with smaller denominations like 5s or 10s.

To change the denomination(s) your machine dispenses, speak with your ATM processor. They will need to set you up with the right cassette and programming to make it happen.

3. Advertise

People cannot use your machine if they don’t know it exists. Therefore, advertising is key. There are a number of simple things you can do that won’t cost you a thing.

First of all, make passersby aware that your ATM is nearby even before they enter the establishment. Consider putting up a sign in the window for some cheap, easy advertising. Make your own sign for free, or purchase one depending on your needs and the preference of the location owner.

Second, advertise your ATM on the establishment’s website or on Google Maps. Make sure that people who are researching the establishment online or are looking specifically for an ATM machine know that there is one at that location.

Third, make sure the machine can be seen by patrons of the establishment. Is it in plain sight with no shelves or corners hiding it? Are there zero obstructions, making it easy to get to? Is the area well-lit? These are all factors to consider when it comes to drawing in more users, and the best part is that they can easily be adjusted without spending any extra money.

Now, if you do find that you need to do a little more, you might want to put some money into your advertising. You can purchase a topper for your ATM machine that helps make it more visible. You can even get one that can display messages and graphics to add to its appeal. Use LED signs and lights with bright colors to catch customers’ attention.

4. Offer Incentives

Your ATM might have the ability to print coupons on the ATM receipt paper. This is a great way to encourage repeat business. Gas discount coupons work well for gas stations. Car wash coupons, BOGO offers, and free drink with purchase are other good ideas. Customers are more likely to use an ATM if they get a bonus or extra benefit.

5. Update and Upgrade

Customers might not feel comfortable using your machine if it looks old, run-down, and out-of-order or likely to malfunction. If you are looking for ways to maximize your ATM revenue, we’re sure this isn’t the state of your machine. But customers might not know that just by looking at it. 

Make sure the area around the machine is clean, the machine itself is clean, the decals are new and not peeling, and your machine is fully stocked and functioning during all hours of operation. The less downtime your machine experiences, the more opportunities you open to transactions.

Your machine might look great! But certain upgrades can make your machine stand out from the competition. Earlier we mentioned using LED lights, topper, and graphics to help advertise your machine, but these features can also make your machine look more inviting if it’s already in a conspicuous area.

As long as you ensure your software is updated, then you minimize the downtime of your ATM and speed up transactions. This keeps users coming back. Upgrades are a nice touch if you find that you need them. 

6. Change Locations

You might want to experiment with the placement of your machine as well. Place the machine near the door where patrons have two opportunities to pass by it (coming and going). Or near the cash register where almost every patron is sure to stop and probably need cash. You might also consider placing it near a particularly popular aisle where more people are likely to spot it. Be strategic.

If your machine can be hooked up outside, you might want to consider this as well. This opens business up to passersby who never intended to enter the establishment in the first place. It’s also quite obviously visible this way, and if the establishment isn’t open 24/7, you open your machine up to more transaction opportunities by extending its hours of operation.

Finally, if all else fails and you aren’t seeing the numbers you want to, it might be a matter of slow business or foot traffic to the location. If you aren’t seeing at least 200 patrons in a day/transactions in a month, you might consider looking for a busier, more profitable location.

7. Scale Your Business

Now, if your machine is doing as well as you could hope, but you still want to bring in more revenue, it might be time to scale. This could mean adding another ATM machine or two (or ten!) to your route, or it could mean branching out into the Bitcoin ATM business

Cryptocurrency is rising in popularity. If you live in an area with a heavy population of crypto users, it might be worth it to give it a shot. Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) allow users to purchase bitcoin with cash or debit card, and they can sell bitcoin for cash as well. Adding a BTM to your route would provide an additional source of revenue.

Maximize ATM Revenue in 2022

There is no shortage of opportunities when it comes to the ATM business. If one strategy doesn’t work, it doesn’t take much effort to try another! That’s the beauty of passive income. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have the perfect recipe for your success. It will require some trial and error. That’s because no two ATM businesses look the same. There are so many factors to consider, but that also means that there are many possibilities to explore. Find what works for you and your personal revenue goals this year.