Choosing ATM Equipment: Everything You Need to Know About Refurbished ATM Machines

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

1. Lifespan

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. 

2. Technology

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.

3. Usability

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.

4. Compliance

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

1. Compliance

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.

2. Age

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, 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.

5. Availability

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.

ATM Business Profit: How Much Can You Really Expect to Make?

It’s very simple to make ATM business profit. However, the amount you can make will vary based on your goals, investment, and resources. The good news is that most of these factors are in your control. 

If you’re strategic, patient, and willing to undergo a little trial and error, you can discover the perfect formula for running an ATM business that brings in the revenue you’re hoping for. 

Before we get into specific details, we’ll answer some quick questions:

Is it easy to make ATM business profit? Yes.

Will it require hard work? Yes.

Are there opportunities for growth? Yes.

When we say it’s easy to make ATM business profit, we mean that as long as people use the machine, you will make money. Pretty simple, right? But it does require a little bit of effort on your part to get people to use your machine. That’s where we can help.

In the following sections we’ll share tips for maximizing your profit and growing your ATM business once you get the hang of operating your first ATM machine. At the end of the day, though, the most successful ATM business is the ATM business that works for you. 

How to Run an ATM Business

Starting an ATM business is one of the easiest businesses to set up and start making money immediately. We’ll prove it to you by breaking it down into a few simple steps.

Step 1: Buy and set up an ATM machine

You might want to do a little bit of research to find the equipment that best suits your needs and your goals to ensure you make the right choice. Then, make sure you have a place to put the machine whether it’s in your own store, a space you lease, or in someone else’s store (more on this later).

You don’t need to establish a business entity immediately. You can just do business as yourself at first. And the company you purchase the ATM from can help with the setup, so you don’t even have to worry about the bulk of the technical details.

Step 2: Make your ATM available to the public

Once your ATM is set up and fully operational, all you need to do is make sure it continues to work, keep it loaded with cash and receipt paper, and you might want to do a little bit of advertising or promotion to let people know about your machine.

Step 3: Collect a surcharge for each cash withdrawal transaction

The surcharge you set is your number one revenue source from your ATM. That means you make more money with the more transactions that are made on your ATM. In a couple of sections we’ll discuss some strategies for setting a surcharge.

Once you make back your investment, you can start to profit off of the surcharge fees. And that’s it! Next, we cover the specifics.

How Many Transactions Do You Need to Make ATM Business Profit?

Unfortunately, we do not have a magic number for you. Each independent ATM deployer (IAD) will have different goals and varying initial investments. You cannot make a profit until after you’ve reached your return on investment (ROI). And the timeframe you set for yourself to reach that goal will determine how many transactions you need at what surcharge.

We do, however, have some average numbers based on our experiences and the experiences of the IADs we work with. To give you an idea of what to expect, consider the following scenario:

Let’s say you set your surcharge at $2.50. That means that you earn $2.50 for each cash withdrawal transaction made on your machine. For the purposes of this scenario, we will estimate that you get an average of 6 transactions per day. 

That equals 180 transactions/month. Multiply 180 by $2.50 and you are looking at about $450 monthly gross revenue from your ATM machine. Now think of that in relation to your goals.

First of all, if you spend $2,000 on ATM equipment, it’s going to take a few months to make that back with 6 transactions a day before you can start to make a profit. Second of all, if you want to grow an ATM business and make it your main source of income, you’ll need to invest in a few machines.

IADs that own and operate 5-10 ATMs make about $1,500-$2,000 monthly in profit. So if you’re looking to make thousands of dollars with ATMs, you will need more than one. 

However, in terms of one single location, you can expect 40%-70% annual ROI from any location that warrants 80-100 transactions monthly.

And don’t be afraid to experiment with your surcharge.


The number one rule of setting a surcharge is to be competitive. You can set a higher than average surcharge ($3.00 or $4.00), but customers might pass you over for a machine that only charges a couple of dollars. Now, if you have the only ATM around, of course you get the luxury of raising that surcharge.

You might also consider starting with a lower surcharge than the competition at first to entice people to use it over a location they might be used to. It might require a little trial and error to get your surcharge just right. Find out whether people are using your machine more for convenience or for a competitive surcharge fee.

The good news is that you are in control. And with no backend communication costs, bank sponsorship costs, or any other operational costs, the surcharge fees generated are pure profit for you. For more tips on setting your surcharge, check out our article How to Set Your ATM Surcharge.

Location and ATM Business Profit

Location is very closely tied to your ATM business profit. Where you place your ATM needs enough foot traffic to be profitable. The more people pass by your ATM on a daily basis, the more likely you are to get transactions. 

You also want to make sure passers-by feel safe and comfortable using your machine. If your ATM is in a well-lit, monitored, highly populated area, you can expect more transactions than an ATM that is hidden or dangerous to use at night.

You also need to consider profit sharing when calculating your total profit from your ATM. That will depend on who owns your ATM location.

Site Location Agreement

If you partner with the owner of a retail store or business you’ll want to create a site location agreement. This serves as a contract between you and the site location owner and outlines roles and responsibilities as well as compensation. 

Some store owners might be content with the increase in sales an ATM can provide their businesses and agree to let you have a larger share of the surcharge fee profit. Others might only agree to give up space inside their store for your ATM if they get a share of the surcharge profit.

It can be helpful for you to have an extra pair of hands available to refill the machine and keep an eye on it, but keep in mind that the more responsibilities you share the more profit you’ll likely have to share. 

You get to draft this contract however you see fit, but it’s a good business practice to make sure it’s a win-win situation.

Your Own Store

If you own a business already, adding an ATM can be profitable for you in a number of ways. First of all, there is the surcharge fee profit. And since you are the site location owner, you won’t have to split that profit with a third party.

Second, an ATM can attract customers to your store which increases the opportunity for passers-by to make impulse purchases. Additionally, you can add coupons to your receipts to encourage future visits and purchases. And third, promoting cash sales saves you money on credit card fees.

The Best ATM Locations

If you have ever used an ATM at a bar or casino, you might have noticed that the surcharge fee is much higher than that at your local gas station or grocery store. This is because certain locations can get away with charging higher fees because they know their customers will pay it.

What you offer your customers with your ATM business is convenience. That is the service they pay for. So different locations can support different surcharges. 

Some locations are also more densely populated than others. These are going to be at the top of the list for some of the best locations as well due to the fact that more traffic creates more opportunities. You can check out the 9 best ATM locations we have identified through our experiences with IADs here

Equipment and ATM Business Profit

The type of equipment you purchase determines how quickly you can begin to make ATM business profit. Of course, the lower your investment, the quicker you can meet your ROI and begin pocketing the rest. However, you don’t want to end up spending more on repairs because you opted for cheap equipment. 

So you’ll have to figure out a balance there. But we can help you choose the right equipment for your needs in our ATM Buyers Guide so that you know exactly what to look for and what your options are.

You have to decide also if you want to purchase additional features like keyboard lighting or toppers to help advertise and draw in customers. Depending on your location, it might be a good idea to invest in cameras and security as well as insurance for your machine. 

Whatever you decide you need to make sure your ATM is the preferred location in town, just add up all of the costs and adjust your surcharge accordingly so that you can meet your ROI and begin profiting as soon as possible.

Choosing the Right Denominations

If your machine facilitates removable cassettes, you can store two different currencies (10s and 20s, for example) which gives your customers more options for cash withdrawal amounts. This enhances the convenience your ATM offers and can result in a larger ATM business profit for you.

Removable cassettes also allow you to store more cash, so you can service very busy locations reliably without worrying about running out of bills or having to inconvenience yourself by making extra stops to refill the machine. The less time you spend on your business, the more profit you make, too. Would you rather make $450 in 20 hours or 30?

You also want to consider the demographics of your ATM location as well. Low income neighborhoods are more likely to need smaller ATM cash withdrawal amounts, so the better able you are to accommodate that the more business your machine will get. Keep this in mind as you choose what denominations to store in your ATM.

Choosing the Right Bank

You want to make as much ATM business profit as possible, so that means you need to keep costs down. Different banks have different fee structures and typically offer a variety of requirements to avoid those fees. You want to avoid them if possible to increase your profit.

Since you will be filling your ATM machine with your own funds, you need to find out what the minimum balance is for your funding account so that you don’t drop below it when refilling your machine. If you drop below the required minimum balance, you might have to pay out $10 or so in bank fees for that month.

And you want to choose a bank that will work with you and that communicates well. Because again, the more time you have to spend running around town and waiting and facing obstacles, the less profit you make because that’s all time you have to pay yourself for. 

It’s Easy to Make ATM Business Profit

Making ATM business profit is easy compared to many other businesses. It’s relatively inexpensive to start; just purchase the equipment and possibly lease a space. You can start making money immediately after the machine is set up.

You don’t need any specific entrepreneurial or business experience. In most cases you don’t need to hire any employees unless you want to. And you don’t need to set up a business entity (like establishing an LLC) to get started.

You don’t have any products to sell in person or online. There’s no multi-level marketing (MLM). And there aren’t any franchise fees associated with owning and operating an ATM business.

So as far as getting started, making money quickly, and establishing a routine that’s convenient and profitable for yourself, an ATM business is the way to go. If you still have questions or would like to speak with a representative from, contact us today!