How to Start an ATM Business (Complete Guide for 2022)


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Starting a business may be a significant step to financial freedom. And it might surprise you, but you can actually start your own ATM business and make money off the fees when people withdraw cash. So, here’s how to start an ATM business.

  1. Invest in a new or used ATM machine or consider leasing one
  2. Find a high-traffic location where using cash is common
  3. Hire a cash delivery service to handle reloading the machine
  4. Ensure enough cash on hand to refill the machine monthly or as needed
  5. Plan for more minor expenses such as receipt paper, the phone connection for the machine, insurance, and ongoing maintenance

This article offers a complete guide on starting an ATM business in 2022. An ATM business is a cool source of passive income.

We’ll look at the complexities, legalities, and what life is like as an ATM owner. But I’ll also cover whether you need a business license, how much you can make off ATM fees, and what the first step in creating your business model is.

Let us dive in!

How much does it cost to start an ATM business?

A new indoor ATM machine is approximately $2,500. Outdoor machines are closer to $10,000. Renting space for the machine can be $100 per month. A phone line for connecting to other banks is $30 a month. Replacing receipt paper is $50 per month, and armored cash delivery can be as much as $500 per month.

And occasionally, you’ll have maintenance costs on the machine, especially if it’s outside.

But there is no exact figure that translates into the cost of starting an ATM business. I would like to believe that anyone who wants to start a business would have a budget they want to work with.

Alternatively, you may want to find out how much it will cost to generate a business plan for the finances or adjust your budget.

A number of factors influence how much money you may need to own an ATM business. Let us look at them.

Cost of ATM Machine

The cost of an ATM varies based on the model, size, and age.

You can get a machine between $2000- $3000 if it’s going INDOORS. In addition, you can choose to purchase a brand new ATM or refurbished machine. Determining the type of machine is a crucial aspect for ATM business owners.

As I said above, automated teller machines at ATM locations that are outside can cost closer to $10,000 since they have to be both weather-proof and more secure from theft.

You may want to invest in a new machine as it usually comes with a warranty. However, if you buy used machines, it may require lots of repairs, reducing the gross profit.

Location

After settling the issue of the ATM, up next is looking for a good location.

Again, it helps if you find small business owners willing to rent out a space to you. In addition, whatever rent you agree to should not be so much that it leaves you with little or no profits.

Alternatively, you can suggest sharing the revenue from the ATM business with the location owner. This way, you are sure to avoid extra losses.

Some places will naturally benefit from having an ATM in their location (cash-only restaurants, for example) and be happy to let you place your machine for free. But others may want a fee of $100/month.

Business Structure

Another factor that affects the cost of starting an ATM business is the business structure.

You can choose between a Limited Liability Company or an incorporated business. Usually, creating a legal document may range from $150- $200.

In addition, you may have to visit the State Attorney General’s office to register the business. The cost of the registration varies depending on the business entity. However, the range is between $10- $700.

Licenses and Permits

Before you start an ATM business, you must follow your state’s licensing requirements.

You must have thought of a business name which you will register with your county clerk. In addition, you may opt for a limited liability company.

This protects you from personal liability. Furthermore, you should get all necessary business licenses and permits by paying all required fees before commencing the business.

Insurance

Purchasing ATM insurance is not compulsory.

You can decide to get it or not. The cost depends on what plan covers the machine and/or cash. The number of employees and location of the business may also influence it.

But on average, expect it to cost about $500/year to insure an ATM for up to $1,000,000 in general liability coverage.

However, remember to check if an insurance policy already covers the location. If it does, this will determine the type of insurance to purchase.

  1. Invest in a new or used ATM machine or consider leasing one
  2. Find a high-traffic location where using cash is common
  3. Hire a cash delivery service to handle reloading the machine
  4. Ensure enough cash on hand to refill the machine monthly or as needed
  5. Plan for more minor expenses such as receipt paper, the phone connection for the machine, insurance, and ongoing maintenance

Most people who start the ATM business are available to run it.

However, if you have the vision to expand to other locations, you may need to hire workers. And either way, you’ll need a system to reload the cash into the machine(s) periodically. Armored car service is the most secure but can run $500/month.

Alternatively, there are other services that can do it for about $50/visit.

So, think about how crime-ridden the neighborhood is where you have the machine, how busy it is, and how often it will need to be refilled.

Ongoing smaller expenses

As I said above, you’ll need to refill receipt paper as needed, which should cost about $50/month.

Then you’ll need a phone line so your ATM equipment can connect to other financial institutions. That is often about $30-40/month.

Is owning an ATM profitable?

Yes, owning an ATM is a profitable business.

There is an ATM almost everywhere you go. They may be your only option when you are in dire need of cash but far from your local bank branch.

You may wonder what I mean by ATM business is profitable since they are affiliated with big financial institutions. However, that is not what I am talking about. Instead, I mean those ATMs you find in gas stations or convenience stores without the big names on them.

One of the key motivating factors for venturing into any business is profit. Now, to the burning question at the back of your mind: how do ATM owners get profit?

A specific transaction fee is deducted whenever a person withdraws money from the ATM. As a result, the ATM owners get paid a price of about $3 per transaction. In addition, ATM owners earn from interchange fees of about $0.10- $0.20 for each transaction.

According to Bankrate:

“An ATM operator fee or surcharge fee is charged by ATM owners to non-customers using its ATMs.”

This is another way private ATM owners make money. The average cost of surcharge fee is $3.08. Whenever someone withdraws cash from your ATM, you earn an ATM fee of about $3.

Therefore, your profit will depend on how much cash people withdraw within a period. According to ATM Depot, the average number of transactions on one ATM is 180 within a month. Therefore, you can make an average of $540 every month.

If you have more than one ATM or location is in a region with high foot traffic, then you are sure to make more profits.

Who fills money in ATMs?

The bank obviously refills ATMs at banks or is owned by them.

However, if you are unfamiliar with the ATMs, you may wonder who actually fills these private ATMs with money since they are not affiliated with any bank.

Suppose you are the outright owner of the ATM business. You can refill the machine without involving a third party. This option may be stressful, but it is the path to maximizing profit from the business.

One problem that ATM owners may face is having enough money to refill the machine. Therefore, ATM owners must have much cash as capital for refilling.

Another issue they may face is security.

ATM business owners need to find the safest time to refill the machine. If something goes wrong, they may lose a huge amount of cash. This is primarily a risk for the free-standing type of ATMs.

Therefore, it is not uncommon for ATM owners to hire a cash management company to take care of refilling the machine with money.

Of course, this method reduces the overall profit.

But you can have your peace of mind intact. Working with a cash management company is a secure way of handling funds. The company will also have insurance which means double coverage if anything happens when filling the machine with money.

In addition, ATM owners may seek partnerships with an ATM processor.

The ATM processor is responsible for filling the machine with money. They help them map out business processes and strategies for filling the machine with cash. Although ATM owners would have to pay for this service, there is better security coverage.

Are ATMs a dying business?

No, the ATM business is not a dying sector.

Some people would like to argue that the world is going digital. Therefore, there is no future for ATMs.

And 50 years from now, that will likely be true.

However, as long as cash is still in circulation, there will always be a need for ATMs. Cash has been around for thousands of years, and it will not lose relevance overnight. This is because it is the most accessible means of payment.

Many people are adopting the cashless policy.

They prefer to pay for goods and services with their debit or credit cards. The world is going digital fast. Nevertheless, ATMs are evolving to meet the need of people in the digital world.

Digital payments are risky, and that is why cash will persist. It is not easy to keep track of digital transactions. However, there is proof of transaction in your email. It would contain personal information putting you at risk of identity theft.

In addition, digital payment is a contributing factor to the digital divide.

Some people do not have access to the internet required for digital transactions. Others do not have the necessary skills to manage digital finances. Individuals living in rural areas, the unskilled, and the aged are at a disadvantage with digital transactions.

On the other hand, cash is quick.

You don’t have to wait for proof of transaction status or deal with issues of insufficient funds. Furthermore, cash is accessible to everyone irrespective of social class, educational background, or tech skills.

The events of 2020 and beyond have actually increased the usefulness of ATMs.

Banks are restricting the number of individuals who come in to follow the social distancing regulations. ATMs can be fitted with big screens for advert placement. In addition, ATMs in stores may increase foot traffic and boost business.

Where is the best place to put an ATM?

The best locations for ATMs are indoor locations with a lot of foot traffic, restaurants or bars that are cash-only, or locations adjacent to large flea markets or swap meets as long as events happen regularly.

So as you may have guessed, the biggest factor that influences the success of the ATM franchise is location.

Therefore, it is essential to consider a good location because you can only profit when people use your ATMs. Here are some factors to consider before choosing a location.

Areas where cash is preferred: the ATM location should be where cash is the staple for transactions. Some organizations accept only cash, which makes them one of the best places to put an ATM.

High traffic areas: areas with more traffic increase the chances of using the ATM. This is because it is in a visible location that is easy to access. In addition, high traffic areas may make customers feel safer when using the ATM.

Other ATMs in the areas: suppose there are other machines. You may need to do a thorough investigation before placing your ATM there. If the other ATMs are old and in poor condition, you have nothing to worry about. Also, if the foot traffic is incredibly high, there may not be much competition. If otherwise is the case, you should avoid these locations.

The following are the best places for putting your ATM:

  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Gas stations 
  • Convenience stores
  • Parking lots
  • Clubs and bars
  • Restaurants
  • Event centers
  • Universities and other institutes of learning
  • Markets

What are the types of ATMs?

There are two types of ATMs: Freestanding and Through-the-wall ATMs.

In urban cities, you can find an ATM on almost every corner, gas store, and phone line. People can use their cards (debit or credit) to withdraw cash from any location. In addition, some ATMs allow for checks and cash deposits.

Let us take a look at the difference between the two.

Free Standing ATMs

Free-standing ATMs are the most popular ATMs owned by ATM operators. They are unattached to a wall or a building.

Instead, they are held by the ground. Free-standing ATMs are often provided to increase customers’ convenience, especially for organizations that accept only cash. For example, they are popular at movie theaters, grocery stores, and restaurants.

However, these machines do not receive deposits from customers for safety reasons. The benefit of free-standing ATMs is that they can be placed in any good location provided there is enough space and a constant power supply.

Through-the-wall ATMs

Through-the-wall ATMs are attached to the wall of a building or business.

This type of ATM offers more security features than its counterpart. Only the machine’s exterior, where customers can do their transactions, is on the outside.

The filling the ATM with money and other things take place behind the wall, out of prying eyes. However, through-the-wall ATMs require much space. This is because it requires constructing a room(s) based on the number of machines.

So, if you are opting for this type of ATM, do not forget to include construction costs in your budget plan. In addition, you may need to discuss the price of the area with the property owner.

What is a good name for an ATM business?

Finding a good name for an ATM business is a crucial decision of a sole proprietorship. The name is a representation of the business. Let us examine the steps in choosing a good name for an ATM business.

The first thing that influences a choice of name is the goals and vision you have for the business. You need to ask yourself fundamental questions like: “what is the target market? what emotions do you want to evoke in them?”

A clear answer to these questions helps to improve your understanding of the best ways to appeal to your potential customers.

Next is the fun part, which is brainstorming.

I would advise you to use paper and pen/pencil. Imagine what adjective you would like to be associated with your business. Allow the creative juice to flow and keep writing them down as they come.

Here are some brainstorming techniques:

  • You can work with the ATM business location
  • You can use words that evoke some emotions like secure cash ATM, Happy ATM, etc
  • You can use word puns or combine words in a fun way like Money Mill ATM, Great Citizens ATM, etc
  • There is the option of keeping it short and simple, like Safe ATM
  • In addition, you can use a name that represents something for you, like your favorite celebrity, your family name, etc.

Furthermore, you can try a business name generator.

The software will ask some questions that it will utilize in generating the ideal name for your business. It is okay if you do not like the name. It can be the spark you need to get name ideas flowing.

Finally, register the business name.

Before going to the appropriate office to register, it would help to find out whether the business name you chose is available. It should not come to you as a surprise if someone has already used your desired name to register their business.

(The TRUTH) About How To Start An ATM Business | $2,646 Per Month

Conclusion

The ATM business is profitable.

And it can be the key to financial freedom for you. But it’s not always easy to start an ATM business, and there are some significant start-up costs to think about.

You can also read a recent article on my website about the keys to financial freedom.

There are essential factors you must consider to get the best from an ATM business. It helps if you choose a good and catchy name for the ATM business.

Also, get it registered and licensed to avoid any trouble with the law.

Before you venture into the ATM business, take time to study the location and the type of ATM best suited for it. In addition, make concrete arrangements concerning how the machine will be refilled with cash when necessary.

I hope this article has been useful in guiding potential ATM owners. Make the right decision today!


Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

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