Attract more customers, make profit on every transaction and please customers – what's not to like about having an ATM? Read our guide for what you need to know before buying.
By Rissa Ann
Investing in an ATM (automated teller machine) is an excellent revenue source for you if you own a brick-and-mortar business. If you have the space, you can attract more customers simply by having an ATM in the store, and you can make a profit on a percentage of each transaction.
ATMs are available for purchase directly from their manufacturers or via turnkey ATM service. Turnkey solutions usually handle all aspects of the ATM itself, including cash management, service, transactions, monitoring and installation. As with most major business components, you can lease, rent or finance an ATM.
Let's take a look at the different types of ATMs and what you should consider when it's time to evaluate an ATM purchase for your business.
Should your business get an ATM?
If your business has hefty foot traffic (150 or more customers per day) or you find that customers regularly ask if you have one, you may want to consider buying an ATM for your business. The following business types often do well with having ATMs installed:
- Grocery stores
- Clubs and bars / nightlife establishments
- Cafes and other businesses with minimum transaction or charge amounts
- Gas stations
- Convenience stores
- Banks and credit unions
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Old vs. new ATMs
Many ATM providers offer a choice: You can purchase an older (used) ATM or get something new. Customers don't always trust older ATMs, as they are generally slower and look like a product of the '90s. Newer models are more expensive but produce more (and faster) transactions. Prices vary depending on features and models, but most leasing options run from $75 to $100 per month with a $1 buyout option, according to CostOwl. Freestanding machines cost $1,000 to $25,000; add $5,000 to $10,000 more for a built-in wall machine.
What is EMV compliance, and why is it important?
EMV represents American Express, Discover, JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay and Visa. These organizations teamed up to create the EMV compliance standard, which accepts chip cards. EMV-compliant ATMs can authenticate these transactions, and EMV compliance is considered the gold standard in ATMs. EMV technology also refers to the square chip itself. It's preferred for these reasons:
- It reduces fraud by more than 50 percent.
- EMV is more secure, creating a unique transaction code each time the card is used. This code is unusable again.
- Customers correctly perceive it as a sign of security.
- It encourages customers to use EMV technology (chip cards), which also results in less fraud for your store when they use debit card transactions.
- EMV deters fraud attempts on your ATM.
If you acquire a used machine, make sure it is EMV compliant to avoid headaches in the future.
As with cars and other forms of technology, the appearance of ATMs is important when it comes to its use. Many customers associate older ATM models and looks with low security and higher fees, so an obviously older model will cut into your profits. Older models are generally ...
- Slower to dispense cash, which makes people nervous.
- Reminiscent of computers and terminals from the '90s, which customers perceive as very outdated.
- In need of more maintenance, costing you money as you experience downtime and deal with irate customers.
- Run using very simple digital menus (no touchscreen) and two-color display.
- Boxy, made of older gray plastic, and faded.
More modern machines include touchscreens, digital displays, updated fonts, sleek designs, and greater accessibility for people with disabilities and hearing impairments. They have full-color digital displays and are manufactured with EMV compliance in mind.
Main ATM manufacturers: Compare and contrast
In the U.S., there are five main ATM manufacturers, each with its pros and cons.
- Triton: Triton ATMs don't take up much room. They're made in the U.S. and feature a small, sleek design. Customers may also recognize the brand name. The company claims it offers superb phone support and that its machines require fewer maintenance visits than others.
- Nautilus Hyosung: Nautilus Hyosung is renowned for carrying multiple model types. It has a reputation for heavily integrating software and hardware, with software upgrades being less problematic than competitors' options.
- Hantle: Formerly known as Tranax, Hantle has a hand in more than 200,000 ATM installations throughout the U.S. The company offers scale and handles support for its expansion efforts.
- Genmega: Genmega relies heavily on testing, user feedback and active customer input to develop and improve its existing ATMs. It focuses on modern ATM designs and state-of-the-art technology.
- NCR: NCR handles complex and bespoke business needs, creating and recommending ATM solutions on a business-by-business basis.
Of all the things to consider when it comes to renting, leasing or buying an ATM, servicing is the most important. For every day your machine is down, you lose money and frustrate customers. Evaluate the machine model's reputation for maintenance, and ensure both standard maintenance and emergency maintenance services are covered in your warranty or service agreement.
ATM distribution and processing
ATM distribution and processing are two major components of what you need from an ATM retailer. Proper distribution includes maintenance and check-ins, and processing is all about how the transaction actually happens on the machine. When you compare costs, your prospective ATM retailer should demystify these processes immediately.
Where should you purchase an ATM?
Make sure to purchase an ATM from an authorized retailer. This helps you avoid being scammed out of money and protects the customers in your store. Thoroughly vet your ATM retailers, as many of them have very outdated-looking websites, whether they're legitimate businesses or not.