Improve ATM Performance and ATM Attractiveness to Maximize ATM Profits

Owning and operating an ATM business is a simple way to earn passive income. But what if your ATM performance isn’t as high as you expected? Is there anything you can do to maximize ATM profits?

You have to keep in mind that although an ATM business is unconventional in many ways, at the end of the day it is still a business. For instance, what do store owners do during slow periods? They run sales, offer coupons, and take out ads. You can do the same for your ATM. 

If your ATM isn’t performing well, don’t worry and don’t quit. There are things you can do to improve your ATM performance, maximize ATM profits, and get that passive income flowing.

Why Isn’t Your ATM Performing?

Before you look at the ways to improve your ATM performance, you need to diagnose the problem. After you identify the reason(s) why your ATM isn’t performing, then you can determine an appropriate solution.

The first factor you want to consider is the location. Is your ATM placed in someone else’s store? How much traffic does it get? Does the location have good reviews? You want your ATM machine in a store where a lot of people pass by and drop in.

What about hours of operation? Is the location 24/7? If not, is your ATM machine inside or outside of the store? Your ATM might not be serving your customers at the times when they need it most.

Think about the placement, too. Is the ATM in a place where people feel safe using it? If the ATM machine is hidden, poorly lit, or not under video surveillance, this could be deterring customers.

Finally, consider your surcharge. Is it too high? Is there another machine close by that offers a lower surcharge? If so, you might want to experiment with a lower fee.

Of course, you might not be sure what the problem is exactly. In that case, there’s no harm in trying all of the following ways to improve ATM performance and maximize ATM profits!

How to Improve ATM Performance

1. Advertise

The first thing you want to do to get customers to use your ATM is make sure they know it’s available. Is there a sign at the location that passers-by can see from the street? If not, add one.

Advertise inside the location as well. Add a topper to the machine that catches the attention of customers and patrons of the location. There should be a clear path to the ATM machine as well. If it’s in patrons’ line of sight, it will be easier to access and therefore will attract more customers.

Does the location or store have a website or Facebook page? If so, you might want to list “ATM” online as a service offering. That can spread the word to people who aren’t even on site or nearby. 

2. Offer Incentives

You might want to partner with the location owner to offer some sort of incentive to customers for using the ATM machine. Coupons can be printed on the ATM receipts to encourage both ATM use and in-store purchases. This creates a win-win situation for you and the location owner.

3. Upgrade Features

Adding upgrades to your ATM machine is an easy way to spruce up an older ATM machine. Even if your machine is new, adding additional features could help customers notice your ATM machine and set yours apart from the competition.

Add a topper to run graphics, messages, store promotions, ads. Install a lighted keypad to make the machine more attractive. And if you don’t already have a camera on the premises, adding one will make customers feel more comfortable using your machine.

You can also invest in a UV-C light device that scans the keypad to sanitize it. This could impress your customers by looking out for their health and safety and set you apart from the competition.

4. Lower Surcharge

You have to set your surcharge strategically. The average ATM surcharge fee is around $2.50-$3.00. If your surcharge is higher than this, it could be deterring customers.

If your surcharge is too high, you might lose customers to a machine with a lower surcharge. Scope out the surrounding area and see what other machines are charging. (If yours is the only ATM nearby, then surcharge likely isn’t your issue.) You want to offer a competitive rate: high enough for you to make income but low enough to encourage transactions.

You can experiment with this. Lower the surcharge for a while. If transactions don’t increase, then this probably isn’t the issue. So raise it back to the original surcharge so that you at least continue to make the same amount of money from the transactions you do get. Only lower the surcharge if it draws in more customers. 

You might also consider offering lower denominations from your ATM machine. Customers in the area where your machine is may need to take out less than a $20 bill. Dispensing a different denomination than the other ATMs around you could also help you stand out from the competition.

5. Move the ATM

If all else fails, move the ATM. This is one of the unique benefits of running an ATM business: it’s mobile. If your location is slow, hidden, going downhill, then it might be a good idea to move the ATM to a different store when your agreement is up. However, let’s not jump to switching locations just yet. Strategic placement of the machine at its current location could do the trick. 

First of all, can passers-by see the ATM before entering the store? If not, is there a place that would make this possible? People have to know that an ATM machine is available in order to use it.

Second, is the ATM machine easy to get to? You might consider moving it close to the front door or straight ahead from the front door without any shelves, lines, or other obstacles. Not only should the machine be easy to get to, but ATM users don’t want to be hidden from cameras or the public eye when they access their accounts. An obscure ATM machine isn’t safe, and your customers are attuned to this.

Third, can the ATM machine be moved outside? If this is feasible, it could extend the hours of operation of your machine if the store isn’t open 24/7. This also solves a couple of the other problems: visibility and accessibility.

Finally, is the ATM in an area where people need cash? There might not be a need for an ATM at its current location. Maybe there are other machines in close proximity that are proving to be too much competition. Or maybe there aren’t a lot of opportunities for people to make cash purchases at any other businesses in the area. If this is the case, it might be time to look for a new location.

How to Improve ATM Attractiveness

Would you rather use a dingy ATM or a shiny new one? Not only does shiny grab users’ attention, it also suggests a certain degree of safety and trust. We aren’t saying you have to purchase (or should have purchased) a brand new ATM. There is nothing wrong with a properly refurbished ATM machine.

What we are saying is that customers are more likely to use a machine that’s clean, attractive, and safe. Users don’t want to use a machine that looks old, run-down, poorly maintained. They might fear losing their debit cards if the machine doesn’t look trustworthy.

There are a few things you can do to make sure your ATM machine is attractive and enticing to customers. First, clean it. Wipe it down regularly. Replace the decals if necessary. Clean the area around the ATM, too. You want people to approach the ATM, not shy away from it.

Second, upgrade some features. Add a topper to run messages and advertisements. Get a security camera. Install a lighted keypad to attract customers and make the machine more attractive. Especially if your machine is used or refurbished, adding a lighted keypad could be a nice touch. 

Third, make sure your machine is functional and has little to no down time. An out of order sign could lose customers’ trust and prevent them from returning to that machine. So if anything ever goes wrong, address it immediately. This includes keeping the machine stocked with cash and receipt paper at all times.

Finally, regularly update your software. You want your machine to run as quickly and smoothly as possible. And you don’t want to run into any technical issues. The more available your machine is, the more potential there is for transactions.


If none of these tips are possible or effective for you, you might want to consider moving to a new location while keeping this list in mind. In order to improve ATM performance and maximize ATM profits, people have to know that the machine exists, they have to need cash, and they have to feel comfortable using the machine. 

It might require a little trial and error to get it just right. There are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of decisions to make. Be strategic and don’t be afraid to try and try again. That’s the beauty of the ATM business: it’s easy to be flexible. Want to know what locations experience the best ATM performance? Check out our article “Choosing an ATM Location: 9 Best Locations for ATM Machines” here.

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