Purchasing an ATM can be a good business opportunity for anyone looking for passive income. However, it can also be a good opportunity to increase sales at an existing business whose customers can use the ATM. Some studies have shown that as much as 25% of cash withdrawn from ATMs on a business’s premise is spent at that business and that having an ATM on-site at your business can increase sales by up to 8%.
So, what does it actually cost to purchase an ATM? Well, that depends on what type of ATM you want to buy. This article is written to help you understand both the cost of buying an ATM and the overall business of owning and operating a machine.
What is the average cost to purchase an ATM machine?
The cost of purchasing an ATM can range hugely – anywhere from $1,000 for used units to $25,000 for top-of-the-line new machines. However, for most people buying an average model ATM new from a vendor costs about $2,000 – $4,000. So, while this is not cheap it is well within the reach of most entrepreneurs and business owners. In addition, almost all ATM sellers also offer leasing and financing options that help reduce the initial cost of acquiring the machine.
Buying the machine is not the only cost that you should be thinking about when researching an ATM purchase. ATMs must be maintained, and any issues encountered by the machine must be resolved.
Usually, maintenance just means refilling the cash in the machine. But, as an owner, you have to have enough cash on hand to refill the machine as often as needed. This might mean you only need to visit the machine once a week, but it can also mean you need to visit it every other day if you have a high volume of transactions. Another indirect ‘cost’ of the machine is that you have to have a large amount of physical cash with which you can refill your machine. This cash on hand is known as ‘vault cash’ and while it’s not an explicit expense, it is cash you must have and that you cannot use for any other business opportunities. In addition, you will have to find a secure way to store the cash before you use it to refill your ATM.
Then there are the costs of fixing any issues with your ATM. Hardware and software issues are usually small but can escalate quickly if not taken care of soon. Also, failing to fix your machine in a timely manner may lead to bad customer experiences that can lead to customers avoiding your ATM in the future.
There is also the risk of fraud. Fraud is by far the biggest risk and potential expense of owning an ATM. There is no real way to predict the cost of fraud to your machine, the good news is that the new EMV chip cards used in America have reduced fraud by over 50%. You can learn more about EMV compliance for ATMs here.
All these maintenance needs can take a significant amount of knowledge and time, so many ATM owners choose to outsource this to ATM servicing companies. Most companies that sell ATMs also offer maintenance services, so there are plenty of options for outsourcing this chore. But while outsourcing is usually a logistical preference, it does cost money and so will lower your profits.
Who should purchase an ATM machine?
There are two groups of people who usually purchase ATMs. First are people who already own a business and who can increase their sales by providing customers with an ATM. Especially for businesses who use cash frequently – such as restaurants – adding an ATM on the premise can significantly increase sales. In addition, for businesses in busy shopping areas with high traffic, customers may come into the business because they know there is an ATM available, further increasing sales. All these indirect benefits are on top of the transaction fees from the machine itself.
For people who do not already own a business, they can still profit from just the ATM transaction fees. On average, the fee to withdraw cash from an ATM is $4.61, so high traffic businesses that can average 3 – 5 withdraws daily could earn ~$13.50 – $23.00 a day. While this is certainly a nice source of passive income, it’s not enough to be your main source of income, so many ATM owners start an ATM business by building up a network of many ATMs to increase their income.
Potential Profits from Owning an ATM
So, how profitable is an ATM? Some estimation is needed, but in general, we can say that a machine will cost about $3,000, halfway between the low and high averages of buying a new free-standing ATM. If you have a high-traffic location for your machine, and so can average 4 transactions a day, then you could see revenue of up to $6,700 each year.
Just accounting for the machine’s purchase price, that’s a gross return of over 220%!
But there are other costs of owning an ATM, and these vary hugely depending on your unique situation. Firstly, you may have to pay to rent a location for the ATM if you don’t already have a business in which to place it. This rent cost is usually paid as a percentage of the transaction fees from the machine, a flat fee per transaction from the machine, or a flat monthly fee. In addition, if you have outsourced the maintenance of your machine you will have to pay for that as well.
To help estimate your ATM profits, you can use online calculators like this one from National Cash Services. However, remember that any pre-business estimates are just that – estimates. It is not possible to guarantee how much profit – if any – you will see from purchasing an ATM.
If you are ready to purchase an ATM, you should reach out to a few ATM sellers to get more information on their prices, models, and services. Below are a few companies you can reach out to as a start.
- Mobile Money says they are the “#1 ATM Provider in the US”.
- America’s ATM focused on services for small and medium-sized businesses.
- ATM Depot provides ATM solutions to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- ATM Atom provides parts, repairs, and training for ATMs.
- “Benefits of an ATM.” ATM Global, AM Global, www.atmglobal.net/benefits.html.
- Ann, Rissa. “ATM Machine Buying Guide.” Business.com, Business.com, 14 Jan. 2019, www.business.com/articles/atm-buying-guide/?_ga=2.164631999.1658209850.1580513045-3649661.1578862039.
- “How Much Does an ATM Machine Cost?” Cost Owl, Cost Owl, 2020, www.costowl.com/b2b/atm-machine-cost.html?fbclid=IwAR0C1NTgwc-tNI39Qi1pkgXMwHlvCLINDPm07NwqHdyK60rDSkIy4sDzn24.
- Barrington, Richard. “Bank Fees Survey 2019.” Money-Rates.com, Money-Rates.com, 27 Aug. 2019, www.money-rates.com/research-center/bank-fees/.