How To Start An ATM Business

Many people dream of starting a business that allows them to earn passive income while they sit on the beach or even while they sleep!  An ATM business can be one way to generate such passive income. However, it’s not quite as simple as buying a few machines and watching the money roll in.

While ATM business opportunities can be very successful, they requires hard work and proper planning to get started.  In addition, it will need ongoing maintenance to keep things running smoothly. Keep reading the steps below to help you decide whether an ATM business may be right for you.

ATM Industry Outlook

ATM Industry Outlook

Before starting any business, you should always perform thorough research on the industry to make sure there is a market for your product or service.  The ATM industry is no different. The latest market trends show a general increase in revenue from ATMs.

While it seems that people are using less cash as we move toward a more digital economy, actual data does not support that theory.  In fact, recent data from MarketWatch shows that the ATM industry is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 7% from 2019 – 2024.  This would put the global ATM industry at a value of approximately $28 billion USD in 2024.

The growth in revenue can be attributed to a few factors.  First, the number of ATMs continues to rise each year. Also, the fees collected on each transaction are steadily increasing.  The national average in the US currently is right at $3 per transaction.

Given the industry outlook for the ATM business, you may have decided that this is the right opportunity for you.  If so, keep reading to learn how to get things up and running.

Location Selection for ATMs

Before you can start making money from an ATM, you need great locations to place them.  The location is extremely important to the earning potential of your machine. There are several factors that come into play when selecting a location.  They are outlined below.

Traffic Considerations

One of the most important considerations when selecting a spot to place your ATM is the amount of traffic the location receives.  You’ll want to select a location that has plenty of foot traffic. Since most people use an ATM for convenience, they’re not likely to navigate to your location in an automobile.  It needs to be in a spot that people already visit.

Think about locations where it is likely to already be a high volume of people.  Convenience stores, casinos, bars, and universities can be great options. The more traffic the location sees, the higher your earning potential.

Cash Needs

When selecting a spot for an ATM, you should target locations where people are likely to need access to cash.  Some restaurants only accept cash, so these could be great spots for an ATM. Other possibilities could be farmer’s markets or street fairs.  Some businesses charge higher rates for credit card transactions, so many people would likely use an ATM in there so that they could pay in cash.

Market Studies

In addition to traffic numbers, market studies can also provide other valuable information about your potential location.  One such piece of information is the competition in a location. Placing your machine too close to an existing ATM can reduce your earnings, particularly if the existing ATM is a bank-owned machine where customers pay no fees.

There are providers available who can provide these detailed studies to you.  In many cases, they will provide an aerial map of your proposed location and highlight the competitors on the map.  This will allow you to see just how many machines are located within walking distance of your spot. If there are more than two or three machines already there, then consider looking elsewhere for placement!

Space Rental Agreements 

Once you’ve decided on your spot, you’ll need to secure your location through an agreement with the property owner.  You should always sign a contract with the owner that spells out all terms of the agreement. This can prevent disputes in the future.

Some of the things that you need to include in the agreement are as follows:

  • Lease length
  • Fee / Commission amount
  • Servicing agreement
  • Exclusivity clause
  • Termination rights

If possible, try to negotiate for the inclusion of an exclusivity agreement so that no other ATMs can be placed on the property.  You’ll also need to make sure that you have access to the location in order to service your machine. To make sure you’ve covered everything, it would be a great idea to consult an attorney before finalizing your agreement.

ATM Equipment Requirements

ATM Equipment

Now you must decide what type of machine you will purchase.  You can buy new or used, but there are pros and cons to each.

Buying New ATM Machines

Buying a new ATM machine is the best way to ensure that you get the latest and greatest technology available, especially with the latest EMV requirements.  New machines also come with a warranty, usually about 24 months. During this period, and malfunctions in the machine would be covered, so you wouldn’t have to worry about paying for repairs.

However, buying new is the costliest option from an initial investment standpoint.  A new ATM generally costs somewhere between $3,000 to $10,000.  If you don’t have the capital to buy new, you may have to consider a used machine. You can learn more about ATM machine costs here.

Buying Used ATM Machines

Buying used is the cheaper option and can allow you to purchase more machines with the same amount of capital.  In fact, used ATMs can be found for as little as $500. If you decide to go the used route, make sure that the machines are in good working order and comply with the latest registrations.  Also, be prepared to pay out of pocket for any repairs to the machine if something goes wrong.

ATM Maintenance and Support

While an ATM business is mostly passive income, there is work that goes along with the business.  You’ll need to schedule a time for maintenance and support. Improperly maintained machines can cost you money and lead to unhappy customers.


Refilling ATM Machines

Refilling your machines is one of the most common maintenance tasks that you will need to complete.  You will want to make sure that your ATMs don’t run out of cash because this will cause you to lose business.  This task usually needs to be completed at least weekly, but sometimes more often in busy areas.

Remember that you will need access to quite a bit of cash in order to initially fill your machines and keep them refilled.  Most ATMs are loaded with several thousands of dollars, so that is a lot of money you will need upfront to get started.

The other consideration is who will refill the machines.  You can refill them yourself, and that is the cheapest option.  However, it is also the most work. You could hire an armored car service, but that is the most expensive option.  Their rules also require upgraded locks on the machine, which cost anywhere from $200-$600 to purchase.

ATM Machine Repair

If you keep your machines long enough, you are bound to encounter some issues that require repair.  Make sure you account for repairs in your cash flow so that you can pay for them when they arise. A broken ATM is not making money, and it could lead to problems with the property owner as well.  Be sure to find a reputable and professional repair service to ensure that things are fixed properly.


On occasion, regulatory rules change that will require changes or upgrades to your machine.  This is another reason you should consider buying new as the machines will be up to date with current laws.  Newer machines are generally less expensive to upgrade for compliance as well. In some cases, older machines must be completely replaced.

ATM Machine Business FAQs

How Much Money Can You Make Owning an ATM Machine?

Owning an ATM can be a potentially profitable venture, but the actual profits can depend on a number of factors. These include:

  1. Transaction Fees: ATM owners usually make money through transaction fees. When someone uses the ATM to withdraw cash, they’re typically charged a fee, which can range anywhere from $1 to $5 or more, depending on the location and competition. As an ATM owner, you decide the surcharge fee.
  2. Number of Withdrawals: The amount of money you can make is directly tied to the number of transactions processed by the machine. The more frequently the machine is used, the more money you’ll earn.
  3. Location: ATMs that are conveniently located in high-traffic areas (such as shopping centers, bars, and event venues) generally see more use than those in less populated areas.
  4. Maintenance and Operational Costs: These costs can affect your profits. They include the costs to load cash into the ATM, machine maintenance, telecommunications, and any rent if you don’t own the location where the ATM is placed.

Let’s consider an example:

Suppose you charge $2.50 per transaction. If your ATM machine is used 300 times per month, that’s $750 per month in fees. Subtract from this any costs such as cash loading, maintenance, rent, etc.

However, these numbers can vary widely based on the specifics of your situation. Also, keep in mind that owning an ATM comes with responsibility, including maintenance and ensuring the machine’s cash supply. It also comes with potential risks, such as the machine being tampered with or stolen.

Where Can I Buy an ATM Machine?

You can purchase an ATM machine from a variety of sources, many of which operate online. Here are a few:

  1. ATM Manufacturers/Distributors: Companies like Nautilus Hyosung, Genmega, or Triton Systems manufacture ATMs and often sell them directly or through distributors.
  2. Online Retailers: Websites like Amazon or eBay often have ATMs for sale.
  3. ATM Companies: Many companies specialize in selling, installing, and servicing ATMs. These include ATM Trader, ATMDepot, and others.
  4. Local Classifieds: Sometimes, used ATMs can be found on local classified websites or in business liquidation sales.

Remember, when purchasing an ATM, you will also need to consider the cost of installation, maintenance, and cash replenishment. Additionally, some ATMs may require specific technical requirements for their location (like a dedicated phone line or internet connection), so make sure you’re aware of these before purchasing.

Also, it’s essential to research the specific model of ATM you’re considering purchasing. Look at things like the model’s reputation, the availability of replacement parts, its user-friendliness, etc. And always ensure that the machine is EMV compliant (meaning it can accept chip-based cards), as this is now a requirement in many areas.

Where Can I Put My ATM Machine?

The location of your ATM can significantly influence the volume of transactions and, subsequently, the amount of money you make. Some suitable locations include:

  1. Shopping Centers: These high-traffic areas are often ideal because of the constant flow of people who might need cash.
  2. Restaurants and Bars: Customers often need cash for tipping or to pay for services.
  3. Grocery Stores: Many people still prefer to pay in cash, especially for small purchases.
  4. Hotels and Motels: Guests often need cash for tips and miscellaneous expenses.
  5. Event Venues: These could be places where concerts, fairs, festivals, or sporting events take place.
  6. Gas Stations and Convenience Stores: Customers often need cash for small purchases or services.
  7. Local Community Areas: This could include areas like libraries, community centers, or laundromats.

Before installing an ATM at any location, it’s crucial to obtain permission from the property owner. In many cases, the owner will ask for a rental fee or a percentage of the ATM’s earnings.

Also, consider factors such as visibility and security. The machine should be in a well-lit, secure location that’s easy for customers to access but also secure against potential theft or vandalism. It’s also a good idea to check local and national laws and regulations related to ATM placement and operation.

Finally, consider the demographic and habits of the people in the location. An ATM in an area with a high cash usage or where access to banks is limited can be particularly successful.

How Much Does an ATM Machine Cost?

The cost of an ATM machine can vary depending on the make, model, and features. However, here’s a rough estimate as of my knowledge cut-off in September 2021:

  1. Basic, Stand-Alone ATMs: These usually cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. These are the most common type of ATM and are typically used in retail stores, restaurants, and other small businesses.
  2. Through-the-Wall or Built-In ATMs: These can range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more. These are often used by banks and are built into the wall of a building.
  3. Used or Refurbished ATMs: Depending on the model and condition, these can often be found for less than $2,000.

Remember, the ATM purchase is only part of the total cost of ownership. There are also costs associated with installation, maintenance, cash loading, and potentially leasing the space where the ATM is located. Also, some ATMs require a dedicated phone or internet line, which may come with additional costs.

How Much Work is Involved in Running an ATM Machine Business?

Operating an ATM machine involves several tasks, some of which are frequent and ongoing, while others are occasional or one-time tasks. Here are some of the activities involved:

  1. Cash Loading: This is one of the most critical and frequent tasks. ATMs need to be refilled with cash regularly. The frequency depends on the usage of the ATM and the amount of cash it holds.
  2. Maintenance and Repairs: ATMs require routine maintenance to keep them in good working order. This could involve cleaning, replacing parts, troubleshooting issues, or arranging for a professional to repair the machine if it’s not working correctly.
  3. Monitoring: You’ll need to keep a close eye on transaction levels, cash levels, and any potential issues or alerts the ATM might generate.
  4. Customer Service: If users have problems with the machine (for example, if the machine malfunctions or if they believe they’ve been charged incorrectly), you’ll need to address these concerns.
  5. Record Keeping and Reporting: Depending on local laws and your agreement with the bank that supplies the cash for your ATM, you may need to keep detailed records of transactions and provide regular reports.
  6. Compliance: It’s crucial to ensure that your ATM business stays compliant with all applicable regulations, including those related to data security and privacy.
  7. Location Lease and Relationships: If you don’t own the location where your ATM is placed, you’ll likely need to pay rent to the property owner. Maintaining a good relationship with them is also essential to ensure your ATM can remain on their property.
  8. Marketing: You may need to advertise the ATM’s location and availability to increase usage.

How much time all of this takes can depend greatly on the number of ATMs you’re operating, how heavily they’re used, and whether or not you decide to outsource any of these tasks to a third-party service provider.


If you’re looking for a legitimate, passive income opportunity, then an ATM business may be for you.  However, it does require hard work and a moderate amount of startup capital. Be sure to do thorough research on the location you have selected, as this is one of the biggest factors that will affect your success.

Be sure to get up to date machines, and keep them serviced.  Negotiate favorable terms with the property owner for the placement of your machine.  With proper planning, you should be able to make a few hundred dollars per month per machine.  Good luck!

Kevin Martin

Kevin is an ambitious entrepreneur that is obsessed with all things related to finance. From a young age, Kevin has always been involved with side hustles ranging from online selling to freelance work. Over the years, Kevin graduated from side hustles and started launching multiple online and offline businesses. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting new businesses and exploring all things related to business and finance. He is constantly looking for new ways to save money, invest money, and create income streams.

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