How to Run an ATM Business Successfully

Want to know how to run an ATM business successfully? Running a successful ATM business is simple. As long as you are willing to do the work, there is money to be made. But when it comes to being successful in the ATM business, it’s important to remember that not all ATM businesses look the same.

Someone else’s success might not look like yours. What that means is that you have a lot of decisions to make that no one can make for you. You have to decide which processor to work with, which machine to purchase, where to place your ATM, and how much to set the surcharge.

The answers to all of these questions will depend on your specific lifestyle and goals. The most successful ATM business is the one that works for you. All you need is a little strategy and patience to run an ATM business that brings in the revenue you aim for.

Here we share 5 tips that show you how to run an ATM business successfully. Follow these tips to make sure you have all of the pieces in place to run a successful ATM business.

1. Find an ATM Processor That Meets Your Business Needs

The first thing you need to do is find an ATM processor you want to work with. There are many things you will want to consider in terms of overall cost, support, and perks. If you aren’t sure how to run an ATM business, you want to find an ATM processor that acts as a good business partner, not just a service provider.

ATM Sales

One important factor is whether or not the ATM processor sells ATM machines as well. If you purchase your machine from an ATM processor, your machine is guaranteed to be compatible with their service. 

An ATM processor that sells machines might even have used and refurbished options that are compatible. This saves you time purchasing the machine first and then having to find a processor that will support it.

Automated Payments

You are earning passive income with your ATM business. That means you sit back, relax, and let the business work for you. But if you have to initiate transfers yourself, that’s time and energy you’re spending unnecessarily. Especially if you need to split the payment.

You might have a business partner with a separate account or you might have multiple accounts yourself that you use for different reasons. An ATM processor that offers automated ATM payments and payment splitting can save you the hassle of online banking to manage this yourself.

ATM Vaulting

It’s important to keep your ATMs stocked with cash. You have three different options when it comes to vaulting:

You can vault the ATM yourself which will save you money but cost you in time. If you vault yourself, you’ll want to work with an ATM processor that provides monitoring services to alert you when your machine is low on funds.

You can have the location owner vault the ATM. This is convenient since the location owner should be near the ATM regularly anyway. The location owner may or may not negotiate compensation for providing this service.

Or, you can have your ATM processor vault for you. There will be a charge for this, of course, but working with an ATM processor that at least offers the service can provide you with more options as you add more ATMs to your business and need to reduce your workload while also keeping your machines stocked.

Installation and Setup

You will want to work with an ATM processor that provides instructions for setting up and programming your ATM. The best ATM processors will offer to send a technician out to install an ATM in a new location for you. This might be convenient for you if you’re a first-time ATM owner who isn’t familiar with the technical side of owning an ATM machine.

Service Agreement Templates

A good service agreement leaves no room for error. You don’t want to have to hire a lawyer to settle a discrepancy in your service agreement if there is an issue between you and the location owner. 

You also don’t want to hire a lawyer to draft a service agreement for you. So if you aren’t qualified to draft a fool-proof service agreement, and you don’t want to spend money on a lawyer, you want to be working with an ATM processor that has templates for you.

By using a template, you ensure that all of your bases are covered while still saving yourself money by not hiring out and by avoiding long-term losses in the case of an incomplete service agreement.

Low Fees and Short Contracts

Some ATM processors charge more than others. Those that offer low prices on the sale of their ATM machines make up for the difference by locking you into a long-term contract and charging fees throughout the duration of the contract. 

There are ATM processors that do not do this. Try to find a good balance between fees and contracts when comparing ATM processors.


Your relationship with your ATM processor doesn’t begin with ATM setup and installation and end with payment. Anything can go wrong at any time and you will need a resource to turn to for help. Make sure you have an ATM processor that will be available for you when you need technical support. There are ATM processors that offer 24/7 support should you need it.

When it comes to choosing an ATM processor, look at the options the processors provide. Which do you need at the current stage of your business?

Are you a new ATM owner who will need a lot of support? Do you plan on adding more ATM machines to your business? Are you an experienced ATM owner dissatisfied with your current ATM processor? What do you need that you don’t currently have?

In the end, you want to work with an ATM processor that will help you build the ATM business that helps you meet your goals.

2. Choose an Appropriate Machine

There are three factors you need to consider when purchasing an ATM machine: type, manufacturer, new vs. refurbished.

ATM Type

The type of machine you purchase is going to depend on the space you have available. A free-standing ATM generally has a small footprint. It can be placed anywhere there is a power supply. 

Through-the-wall (TTW) ATMs are typically quite bulky and you will need to invest in a little bit of construction if you don’t already have the space available. This is because the bulk of the machine, the interface, sits inside of the wall and extends into an adjacent room.

You might want a TTW ATM if you want more controlled access to the vault. If the interface extends into a room you can lock or where there is little foot traffic, you make the machine more secure. It isn’t accessible to the public and makes it safer for you when loading the machine.

TTW ATMs also work well when you have a space where the front (the chassis) can face outside. This makes the machine available 24/7 to all passers by, not just in-store customers during hours of operation.

Finally you have the option of a wall mount ATM. This is going to be the smallest option which is optimal if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. It can be placed on a countertop or hung on the wall. It’s going to hold less bills, so this is a good option for a low-traffic location. 

ATM Manufacturer

Some of the biggest names in the ATM industry are Hyosung, Genmega, Triton, and Hantle/Tranax. They all produce sturdy, reliable machines; that’s how they put themselves on the map. So you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Hyosung and Genmega are the best of the best. However, they still vary in size and features. So the decision still comes down to what you are looking for in terms of price versus features.

New vs. Refurbished

Next you want to consider purchasing a new vs. refurbished ATM machine. This decision might depend on your budget, experience, and concern for the environment. 

Purchasing a refurbished machine could save you money up front. You want to make sure that you purchase a certified refurbished machine, though. “Blow and go” refurbishments only clean up the surface of the machine. So you might end up spending more money down the line on repairs than you would have if you’d just purchased a new machine to begin with. 

You also might not get your ideal machine if you purchase refurbished since they are based on availability. You do, however, save on the 63 million tons of electronic waste when you purchase refurbished.

New machines are going to be easier to use. Usability constantly improves with each new model. Manufacturers want their machines to be user friendly, so if you are new to the ATM business, you might want to try a new machine first.

3. Place Your ATM Machine in a Profitable Location

The more people who use your machine, the more profit you will make. So you want your machine to be where people will pass by it, where they need the convenience, and where you aren’t competing with a bunch of other machines.

The most profitable locations tend to be those that are cash only, have liquor licenses, get a lot of foot traffic, and have good reviews. You want your machine where people are and where they need cash. 

You also want your machine in an area where there isn’t any competition. Or, if you see an area that already has ATMs but they are outdated, ask around and see if the location owners would be interested in updating.

Consider the convenience of the location for you, too. You want the machine close to where you live or work. The more time you spend getting to and from the machine, the less profit you make. And you need to be aware if your machine isn’t working properly, so you will need to check on it often. 

4. Determine a Fair Surcharge

You are completely in control when it comes to setting the surcharge. You want a surcharge fee that entices customers to use your machine but that also earns you a profit.

If your ATM is close to one across the street, you might want to set a competitive surcharge to bring more customers to your machine. If your ATM is the only one for a number of blocks, you might be able to set a higher surcharge. People will pay for the convenience.

You also need to account for profit sharing. If you place your machine in a location someone else owns, he or she might negotiate for a share of the surcharge profit. 

ATM surcharge fees range from $0-$8. You can offer a surcharge-free ATM service if the ATM itself brings more customers into a business that you own and encourages cash sales. More cash sales save on credit card fees. 

However, if your ATM is in a location owned by someone else, the surcharge is the only way you will make revenue. The average surcharge fee is $2.50. At an average of 6 transactions per day, that equals 180 transactions per month for a total of $450 a month. 

If that number sounds good to you, try starting with $2.50. If you’d like to try to make more, increase the surcharge. You can use trial and error to get the perfect number that satisfies both you and your customers.

5. Stay Compliant

If you purchase your ATM machine new, it’s going to be fully compliant automatically. This means that it meets ADA and EMV requirements. If you purchase a refurbished machine, depending on its age, it might not be fully compliant.

Often you can make upgrades to make an older machine compliant, but you have to weigh this cost against just purchasing a new machine. In any case, your machines need to meet these compliance regulations:

  • The top working button should not be higher than 48” off the ground.
  • The area in front of the machine needs to equal 48″ x 48″ (16 square feet).
  • There must be one unobstructed side of the clear floor space that adjoins an accessible route or another clear floor space leading up to the ATM and connecting to the clear floor space in front of the ATM.
  • All ATMs must be speech enabled. This may require that a 3.5mm female jack be accessible for headphones.
  • The display screen must be visible from 40″ above the center of the floor in front of the ATM. Characters on the screen must be in Sans Serif font, a minimum of 3/16″ in size, and must contrast with their background.
  • Braille instructions must also be provided.
  • Function keys must be designed to contrast visually from their background surfaces.
  • Input device control key surfaces must be raised above the surrounding surfaces.
  • Keypads must be arranged in an ascending or descending layout. The “enter” key should be marked with a raised circle, the “clear” key with a raised left arrow, and the “cancel” key should be marked with a raised X. The “add value” key should be marked with a raised plus sign and the “decrease value” key should be marked with a raised minus sign.

Upgrade kits are sometimes available for machines that do not meet these requirements, but not always. Make sure any machine you purchase meets these requirements or can be made compliant with an upgrade kit. If you already have a machine or two, check them for compliance to avoid hefty civil penalty fines.

How to Run an ATM Business Successfully

We’ve shown you how to run an ATM business successfully. There really are only 5 things you need to focus on to make the most amount of profit from your ATM business. There is some strategy involved, some trial and error, and you might have to make changes from one machine to the next. 

Considering these 5 tips before you jump into business can significantly increase your chances of running a successful ATM business that brings in the kind of revenue you expect.

But even if you’re already in the ATM game, it’s important not to forget these tips. It’s never too late to go another direction, especially if you plan on adding more machines to your business! ATM Depot specializes in ATM processing, sales, service, and independent ATM deployer (IAD) support. Give us a call and we’ll let you know if we think you have a good location. We can also help you figure out what you can expect to make from ATM processing with your machine. Contact us today!

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