What is the Cost of Downtime for Your ATM Business?

The cost of downtime varies from business to business. It really depends on how much you make and how much it costs you to operate your business. Because those bills are coming, whether your machine is up and running or not. And if you can’t service your customers, then you can’t make money.

Some downtime is inevitable. In this article, we explain what exactly downtime is and how to minimize it. That way, you ensure maximum revenue.

What is Downtime?

There are two different types of downtime: the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind of downtime is the time you have to yourself in between periods of work. With a finely tuned ATM business, you should be able to experience more and/or longer periods of downtime than you would have working a typical 9-5 job.

This is because an ATM business essentially runs itself. You make passive income, meaning your machine makes you money while you sit back, relax, and enjoy your downtime. However, this only happens if your machine is fully functional. Which brings us to the bad kind of downtime….

In the ATM industry, downtime refers to the amount of time that you aren’t able to provide your service to your customers. Downtime could refer to the time during which the equipment or machine isn’t functioning properly or any time during which service is interrupted or stopped. 

That means that set-up time, repair time, and other unexpected obstacles create downtime—time that you aren’t able to generate revenue when you normally would be. 

The cost of downtime, then, refers to the amount of money and resources you lose when your business is not functioning properly. Keep reading to find out how this applies to an ATM business specifically.

Causes of Downtime

We don’t need to tell you all of the things that can go wrong when operating an ATM business. You knew it would come with some risks, just like any business, when you started. But we will list some causes of downtime here and then explain how you can minimize your risk.

Initial Set-Up

First of all, you experience downtime during the period of time between purchasing the machine and getting it up and running. Now, this downtime isn’t the result of any particular error, circumstance, or malfunction, but once you purchase that machine, it is your job to make your return on investment (ROI) so that you can start making a profit as soon as possible.

If downtime refers to the period of time that you aren’t able to provide service and make money, then this applies to the amount of time it takes for you to install, program, and test your machine. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have everything else in place before you actually receive that machine. The quicker you get it up and running, the less downtime you experience and the sooner you start making money.

Hardware and Software Issues

Once your machine is up and running, you could experience hardware or software issues. If something mechanical malfunctions or stops working, you have to stop service until the parts are fixed or replaced. If there is a software breach, your customer data is compromised, and you have to stop service until you improve your security.

Connection Issues

Power outages, poor internet connection, and server instability can also disrupt service. Your ATM machine relies on these resources 100% of the time that it’s available to customers. It can’t do its job without them. So if anything happens to the connection, you will experience downtime until it is restored.

Human Error

Downtime could also be the result of human error. You, your vaulter, or the location owner could load the machine incorrectly causing the wrong denominations to be dispensed. Or, someone could fail to load the machine at all. Without cash or receipt paper, your ATM cannot properly service your customers, and you will lose out on transactions until the issue is addressed. 

Location Issues

Unfortunately, you will be at the mercy of the location’s availability if you don’t operate your machine out of your own space. That means that if the location has to close during hours when you normally operate your machine, you will lose out on transactions during that time. There could be flood, fire, construction, holidays, vacations, etc. that could cause the location to close and cut your machine off from usual customers.

How to Prevent Downtime Costs

Although there is a long list of things that can go wrong and cause you to experience the cost of downtime in your ATM business, there are ways to mitigate your risk of downtime and minimize the duration. 

Make an Action Plan

The first thing you can do is be prepared. That is where the list of causes becomes helpful. While we hate to think of everything that can go wrong, doing so prepares us to handle anything that comes our way. So take a look at the list, and make a plan for handling the issue as quickly as possible.


Then, prioritize communication. Share your plan with the location owner, vaulter, and anyone else who helps you with your operation. Make sure that everyone involved knows what to do if something goes wrong. 

You also want to communicate with your customers. Let them know what the problem is, when you expect to have it fixed, and maybe even provide contact information. This can help preserve your reputation by providing excellent customer service even when your machine isn’t available.

Minimize and Eliminate Potential Causes

This might go without saying, but you want to try to eliminate the potential causes of downtime costs as much as possible. For example, rather than use the location’s internet service provider for your connection, you can prevent unreliable internet connection by investing in your own ATM wireless device.

Increased security measures can prevent vandalism, theft, robbery, fraud, and other potential threats to your machine. Keeping your software up-to-date also improves security, customer service, and uptime (the time your business is fully operational). These are other proactive measures you can take to eliminate causes of downtime costs.

Utilize Your Resources

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If something goes wrong, you might need to reach out to the location owner to fix it if you are unavailable. Or, if you need help diagnosing a problem or need technical service or advice, contact your ATM provider. (Hopefully you work with someone like ATMDepot who offers 24/7 customer service.)

You also want to make sure you utilize remote online monitoring. Your ATM company should provide you with access to a portal where you can set up alerts and track activity. Keeping tabs on your machine while you are away and getting real-time data and notifications allows you to jump on a problem as soon as it occurs, therefore minimizing your downtime costs.

Improve Mistakes

Finally, reflect on and improve mistakes. There is a first time for everything. If and when something goes wrong, take notes and think about what you could have done better. That way, if it ever happens again, you are better prepared and can resume operations even quicker.

What is the Cost of Downtime for Your ATM Business?

A business’s risk of downtime is determined by the industry, size, and business model.

Downtime can cost large companies thousands of dollars every minute! Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook are so profitable, though, that they can recover easily from mistakes and system outages. Smaller businesses, however, could be completely ruined from just one mistake.

This is due in part to the fact that the cost of downtime isn’t solely financial. There are other, intangible costs like a damaged reputation, stress, lower confidence, and decreased momentum. The smaller the business, the more impactful these intangible factors can be.

Categories of Downtime Costs

The cost of downtime factors in more than just monetary loss. Of course you aren’t making money when your machine is down, but what other costs do you have to consider?

In addition to lost revenue, you have to consider the cost of repairs. Do you have to pay a technician to come service your machine? Do you have to replace a cassette? Should you purchase a more secure lock?

And there are productivity costs. What will it cost you in time and money to have to stop what you are doing to address issues with your business? Will you incur extra travel costs? Extra stress? Will you have to sacrifice time spent at another job, on an additional project, or with family?

Then there are other intangible costs which have long-term effects. For example, if someone comes to use your machine, but it’s out of order, they might never return. So you lose transactions during downtime, you lose regular customers, and your reputation suffers. 

You also want to consider your relationship with the location owner. If you share your transaction revenue with the location owner, he or she loses out on income and customers during downtime as well. If you experience too much downtime, you could compromise the agreement you have with the location. The owner could terminate your agreement or decide not to renew. That could be a potential long-term cost of downtime, too.

How to Calculate the Cost of Downtime

There are a few formulas businesses use to try to predict just how much they could lose every hour that systems are down. For example, they might add the amount of lost revenue to the amount of lost productivity and add the amount of recovery and intangible costs.

Lost revenue can be calculated by multiplying the amount of revenue made per hour by the number of downtime hours and multiplying that by the percent of time systems are relied on. Lost production equals the employee salary per hour times the percent of time they are utilized times the number of employees.

However, an ATM business is a little simpler. Since you are probably your only employee, and you rely on system operations for 100% of the time you are in business (your entire business relies on your machine functioning fully), you really just have to add the amount of lost revenue, the amount of recovery, and intangible costs to get a rough estimate of the cost of downtime for your ATM business.


It can be difficult to come up with an exact number for the cost of downtime for an ATM business. There are many factors to consider, and it’s hard to put a price on intangible costs. So to simplify, in most cases, the cost of downtime essentially equals the average amount of revenue generated in an hour multiplied by the number of hours your ATM is out of service. 

There is a long list of things that can go wrong, and every business experiences periods of downtime. But if you are prepared, you can minimize your costs of downtime and continue to provide excellent customer service—your business depends on it!

3 Ways ATM Monitoring Increases ATM Revenue

ATM monitoring can help you increase your ATM revenue. If you own an ATM, you know how important it is to make sure it’s always in operation. You can’t make money if your ATM doesn’t work. If your machine isn’t reliable, you will lose customers. 

ATM monitoring not only helps you from losing revenue, but it can help you increase it as well. Not to mention putting more in your pocket by avoiding preventable disasters. 

What is ATM Monitoring?

ATM monitoring is often named with descriptors like online, remote, and real time. All this means is that it is a system that provides ATM owners with updates and alerts regarding ATM functions 24/7. 

ATMs have advanced technologically to provide more services and features. So there is much more to monitor than simply availability status. 

Earlier ATM monitoring systems simply provided an availability status, leaving ATM operators in the dark about fixing problems. Can you imagine calling a service tech every time your machine has an issue? Especially since a majority of ATM errors are easy for you to address yourself without any technical support. 

Now, ATM monitoring not only alerts you when there’s a problem, but it also provides insights into what the issue is. This way, you can save time and money fixing problems. You have complete control over your ATM operation.

Real time ATM monitoring allows you to analyze transactions, understand issues, troubleshoot errors, and keep your machine running. ATM monitoring provides many benefits to an ATM business, especially businesses that have more than one ATM machine to maintain.

First, it alerts you when there are issues whether mechanical or security. Second, it provides insight into failed customer interactions. Finally, it allows you to create predictive solutions to prevent future problems. 

More complex issues can arise than just cash or paper jams. Your machine could experience connection issues, screen or display malfunctions, card reader malfunctions, and more. But with real time ATM monitoring, you can enhance security, improve the customer experience, and increase revenue.

How Does ATM Monitoring Work?

We won’t get into all of the technical details behind ATM monitoring, but we can provide you with a couple of examples. 

There is a lot of variation in configuration responsibilities, workflows, geography, devices, vendors, etc. Rather than spend unnecessary time and money waiting for service specific to you and your needs from one particular institution, ATM monitoring offers a more flexible, operator-driven solution. 

With a system configured precisely for you, you are always prepared even as the system needs change. You can generate your own reports, customize user access and abilities, and create dashboards without having to get the vendor involved at every stage. The result is an entire life cycle of your machine stored in a single database that you can access 24/7. 

For example, if your ATM machine experiences a cassette issue, a ticket can be automatically created and routed to the appropriate vendor. This vendor sees the ticket (again, in real time via their own online portal), and can apply already established parameters to address the issue and close the ticket all from within one monitoring tool.

The process is similar for addressing failed customer interactions. If the system registers three consecutive failed transactions, you want to know what is causing it. Are the attempted transactions potentially fraudulent? Is there a connection issue? Is there a problem with the card reader? No matter the problem, a situation like this can trigger an automatic alert routed immediately to customer service. 

Therefore, ATM monitoring systems help you run your ATM business more smoothly. The more aware you are of your machines, the better customer service you will be able to provide to your users. And the happier your users are, the more money you make.

3 Ways ATM Monitoring Increases ATM Revenue

1. Minimizes Downtime

You can’t make money if your ATM isn’t functioning. And you lose money when customers can’t rely on your machine. ATM monitoring alerts you when your ATM machine experiences issues. 

For example, it can let you know when your machine is running low on cash. That way, you can refill it before it runs out and make sure there are no periods when your machine is empty. 

With real time monitoring, you also know when your machine experiences problems like connection issues, cash and paper jams, and other technical malfunctions. When these occur, you can address them immediately and minimize the amount of downtime your machine experiences. 

The less downtime, the more money you make. And the more reliable your machine is, the more customers you will attract.

2. Improves Customer Service

You need your machine to be functioning in order to make money from transactions. But if your machine is slower or less reliable than others, you could lose customers to your competition. So you want to make sure you stay on top of ATM network connection, jams, and dispenser malfunctions.

ATM monitoring can also provide you with analytic data you can use to improve and streamline your business. For example, find out what days your machine is busiest so that you can make sure it’s filled before it runs low. This way, you don’t even have to worry about a low bin alert.

You can also see what causes failed customer transactions. Tracking this data can help you resolve issues quickly and even help you prevent issues from arising at all. Taking the time to analyze your data provides your customers with the best service and translates into more revenue for you. 

3. Increases Security

Finally, real time ATM monitoring allows you to keep eyes on your machine at all times, even when you aren’t on-site. ATM monitoring helps you detect and prevent fraud. With real time ATM monitoring, you know which transactions occur when, which are successful and which aren’t, and what activity is unusual. 

Want to know what goes on when you aren’t around? ATM monitoring makes that possible.  

How to Get ATM Monitoring

Now you’re convinced that you need ATM monitoring to help run your ATM business more smoothly. So how do you get it set up? 

Real time online monitoring is a service offered by your ATM processing company. So when looking for an ATM company to work with, you might want to make sure they offer online monitoring. Then, the company will host a portal where you can login and search for your machine(s). You should also be able to view this information from your phone, allowing you to monitor your ATM machines remotely 24/7. 


ATMDepot is one ATM processing company that provides online access to your ATM terminals. By logging in from a desktop or mobile device, you can check on your ATM transactions in real time. You can also print statements, view deposit reports, and perform many other functions. Furthermore, you can set up low balance alerts via text message to let you know when one of your ATMs is running low on cash. This way, you can better manage cash replenishment. ATM monitoring allows you to better serve your customers and make more money. Try it today!