How to Start an ATM Business: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to start your own ATM business in 2024.

In today’s financial landscape, where convenience and accessibility are paramount, investing in an ATM business can be a lucrative and rewarding venture you want to consider.

Have you ever wondered how those money-dispensing machines generate profits or how to set up your own network of ATMs? Well, if the answer is “yes” you’re in the right place. 

This article will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to launch your successful ATM business in 2024. 

We’ll explore the ins and outs of this business model to help you redefine your financial journey.

Let’s begin by addressing the burning question…

Is it worth to start an atm business in 2024?

The short answer is YES; ATMs are essential not just for individual transactions but also for businesses.

Moreover, the maintenance costs for ATM machines are relatively low, which contributes to maintaining healthy profit margins.

Also, according to 2023 statistics, the global ATM market size grew from $35.63 billion in 2022 to $37.07 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1%.

In addition, the ATM market might rise at a CAGR rate of 5.3% within 2027. (Source: thebusinessresearchcompany)

While projections and forecasts may differ from these estimates, it is undeniable that the ATM market is strong, considering the CAGR of 2023 vs 2022.

Advantages of starting an ATM Business

Running an ATM business can be pretty cool for a few reasons. First, it’s a way to make steady money without sweating all day.

People pay a small fee every time they use your ATM, which can add up over time.

The best part is that it doesn’t cost too much to keep these things running. You will not need to worry about a big staff or massive expenses.

So, essentially, having an ATM business can be a nice extra moneymaker if you have other businesses.

You can start small and then expand when you’re feeling confident. Plus, there are some tax perks to it, which is always a good thing.

How does an ATM business make money?

An ATM business makes money in a few clever ways. First, there are surcharge fees – when someone who isn’t a customer of the ATM’s bank uses it, they pay a convenience fee, and a part of that fee goes to you. It’s usually a few bucks, and it adds up.

Then, there are interchange fees. This is when the cardholder’s bank pays the ATM owner’s bank a small fee for handling the transaction.

Again, it’s not a lot per transaction, but when you have a lot of transactions, it can be a nice income stream.

If you place your ATM in a shop or business, they might pay you a rental fee for hosting it. You could also charge a fee for loading cash and servicing the machine for these businesses.

Some merchants get a commission for every transaction on the ATM on their property, which can incentivize them to host your ATM.

And if you’re up for it, you can display ads on your ATM screen and get paid by advertisers for that prime real estate.

Let’s not forget that the more people use your ATM, the more money it makes. So, finding high-traffic locations and monitoring costs is the key to success in the ATM business.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Start an ATM Business

picture of a person reaserching how to start an atm business

As demonstrated, the ATM business can be a profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and execution. Now, let’s review how you can start an ATM business.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get started:

Step 1: Do Your Homework (Research and Market Analysis)

As for any business endeavor, doing your homework is crucial to start on the right foot.

Think of this step as your GPS, as it helps you navigate the ATM world. Knowing your target market and the industry landscape is like having a treasure map.

Top Tip: Dig deep into market trends and check out the competition. Look for those golden spots with high foot traffic for your ATM machine/s.

Step 2: Draft Your Game Plan (Create a Business Plan)

This step representsyour playbook; without it, you’re playing blindfolded. In fact, the purpose of a business plan is to serve as a comprehensive roadmap for your business.

Outlining your goals, strategies, financial projections, and operational details is essential, providing a clear overview of the road ahead.

Top Tip: Keep It Dynamic. A business plan is not set in stone; it’s a living document. Continuously update and adapt your plan as your ATM machine business evolves, market conditions change, and new opportunities come to life.

Step 3: Show Me the Money (Secure Funding)

We had to include the step on funding. Cash is, by definition, king in the ATM business game. You’ll need it to buy and maintain ATMs.

Ensure you are clear on the initial investment needed (we will look closer into this topic below) and the maintenance cost.

Top Tip: Get creative with your funding sources. Mix personal savings loans, and consider talking to potential backers. The more financial arrows in your quiver, the better.

Step 4: Know the Rules (Regulatory and Legal Compliance)

Setting yourself up for success also means having a clear understanding of the laws and regulations around the ATM business model.Avoid penalties, and keep your business legit.

Top Tip: I am a big believer in finding legal experts who know the ATM landscape. Rules can be complicated, but you don’t need to be a legal expert.

Step 5: Pick the Right Players (Choose ATM Machines)

Your ATMs are your star players. You want reliable, safe, and user-friendly models.

Top Tip: Do your homework on ATM brands and models. Go for the ones known for reliability and security.

Step 6: Find Your Spots and Negotiate (Site Selection and Negotiation)

The ATM Machine Business is all about location, location, location. Spending extra time on identifying the right spots is essential. Look at people’s behavior and at your own! When do YOU use the ATM the most?

Lastly, once you have all the right places in mind, it is time to negotiate the best deals with the site owners. Remember what we discussed above: your ATM machine can be used for the owner of the site as well, so negotiate always from a position of power.

Top Tip: Look for locations with constant foot traffic. Negotiate the best deal with site owners – sometimes it’s a rental fee, other times it’s a commission.

Step 7: Set Up Shop (Installation and Setup)

Proper installation ensures smooth operations and helps you meet your agreements. Below, we will look into the software needed to run your ATM business and how to set it up.

Top Tip: Ensure your ATMs are set up correctly, connected to the network, and have the right transaction fees. Regular maintenance is like oil changes for your car – keeping things running smoothly.

Step 8: Manage the Moolah (Cash Management)

Do not forget one crucial step, and that is keeping those machines well-fed, which means they stay happy and profitable.

Top Tip: Consider a cash management service or a structured cash replenishment schedule. Always have a stash of cash on hand to cover unexpected shortfalls.

Step 9: Keep an Eye on the Ball (Monitor and Maintain)

Regular check-ups keep your machines in top shape, just like visiting the doctor.

Top Tip: Invest in ATM management software to monitor your machines remotely. Set up a maintenance schedule to catch issues before they become big problems.

Step 10: Watch Your Wallet (Financial Management and Record Keeping)

Keeping track of your records will give you a clear overview of the trajectory of your business. You must be aware to adjust and ensure constant growth.

In addition, accurate financial records help you manage costs and taxes.

Top Tip: Hire an accountant or use accounting software to keep track of your money. It’s like having a personal financial coach.

Step 11: Go Big or Go Home (Expand and Diversify)

I think we can all agree that the best thing about owning a business is by far the limitless earning possibility. Increase your leverage to maximize earnings.

Expanding your ATM empire and exploring new money-making avenues can take your business to the next level.

Top Tip: Learn from your initial ATMs and apply those lessons to your expanding network. Consider offering cash management services to other ATM operators for added income.

Learn how else you can make a profite online in 2024. Go to my article How to make 5k a month – 11 easy ways to learn more.

Determine The Start-Up Costs And Profitability

Picture on costs associated to starting an atm business

Let’s discuss how to figure out those all-important startup costs and ensure your business is as profitable as possible.

Start-Up Costs

So, you’ll need to open up your wallet for a few things:

  • ATM Machine/s: If you’re buying, the cost will depend on the model and features you want. Each ATM can range from a few thousand bucks to several grand. Leasing will reduce the upfront hit.
  • Location Costs: You’ll need to find good spots for your ATMs. Whether it’s a business you partner with or renting space, there’s some expense involved.
  • Installation: Getting those machines up and running can cost a few hundred dollars each.
  • Cash Loading: You’ll need cash in the machines, right? Start with a good amount to handle transactions.
  • Business Registration and Licensing: Don’t forget about those legal fees to get your business up and running.
  • Insurance: You should have insurance to cover potential losses and liabilities.

Profitability:

Now, let’s talk about profits. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Transaction Fees: You’ll earn a fee for each transaction. The exact amount varies, but it’s typically a portion of the surcharge (the extra fee you charge on top of the withdrawal amount).
  • Location Matters: We have seen this already, but it does not hurt to review it; where you place your ATMs is crucial. High-traffic areas can bring in more transactions, which means more money in your pocket.
  • Maintenance and Cash Loading: Remember, you must cover these costs. Make sure your transaction fees more than cover these expenses.
  • Competitors: Check out what other ATM businesses are charging for their services. You’ll want to be competitive without undercutting yourself.
  • Calculate Your Breakeven Point: Figure out how many transactions you need to cover your monthly costs and start making a profit.
  • Market Trends: Stay up-to-date with industry trends. Mobile payment options and changing customer habits can impact your business.

Remember, like any business, it may take some time to turn a profit.

Nonetheless, if you’ve done your homework, found excellent locations, and managed your costs, you’re well on your way to making your own ATM business profitable.

What are the costs involved in opening an ATM Business? (Let’s do some Math)

Opening an ATM business involves several costs. For the sake of giving you a few numbers to look at, let’s break down the estimated costs for running one ATM machine, including the initial investment and monthly expenses:

Initial Investment (One ATM Machine):

  1. ATM Purchase: $2,000 – $8,000 (one-time cost)

Monthly Expenses (One ATM Machine):

  1. Location Agreements: $1,000 – $3,000 annually, averaging approximately $83 – $250 monthly.
  2. Cash Vaulting: $2,000 – $5,000 monthly.
  3. ATM Management Software: $20 – $50 per month.
  4. Maintenance and Repairs: Approximately $42 – $83 per month (assuming $500 – $1,000 annually).
  5. Insurance: Approximately $42 – $125 per month (assuming $500 – $1,500 annually).

Please remember that these are rough estimates, and actual costs can vary based on factors like location and specific business needs.

How much can you earn with one ATM machine?

The revenue generated by a single ATM machine can vary significantly based on several factors, including location, transaction volume, surcharge fees, and operational costs.

An ATM machine can generate anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 in monthly gross revenue. However, this figure can fluctuate for several reasons, with the primary determinant being the ATM’s location.

High-traffic areas, such as busy retail stores, gas stations, and entertainment venues, tend to generate more transactions and, consequently, higher revenue.

The number of transactions and the surcharge fee set for the ATM also play significant roles.

Buy or Lease the Right ATM Business Equipment

As we discuss the ins and outs of the ATM business, we must tackle one important question, and that is: should you buy or lease the ATM machine? Let’s break it down:

Buying ATM Equipment:

Undoubtedly, when you buy ATM machine/s, you’re in the driver’s seat. You own it, no strings attached.

You don’t have those monthly lease payments hanging over your head. The downside? You’re the one on the hook for maintenance and repairs, just like you would be with a car you own.

Leasing ATM Equipment:

Now, leasing is like having a sweet ride without the full price tag. It’s great for those who don’t want to or cannot drop much cash upfront.

Plus, you might be able to trade up to a shiny new model without emptying your wallet. Some leases even come with a handy maintenance package, so you’re not sweating the small stuff.

In conclusion:

In conclusion, you should consider your bank account and your goals. If you’re thinking long-term and have the cash, buying might be your speed.

However, leasing could be your highway to success if you’re budget-conscious, eyeing a shorter ride, or like the idea of upgrades with less cash upfront.

Just remember to read those lease terms and have a plan for keeping your ATM humming smoothly, no matter what you decide!

Service and installation

As we established, selecting the right locations is key when it comes to installation. High-traffic areas like convenience stores, gas stations, and retail shops often bring the best results.

Also, like for any business, relationships are very important. Establishing solid agreements with the proprietors of these locations can come a long way to ensure smooth installation and cooperation.

Remember, you and the property owner can gain from your ATM business.

Now, when it comes to service, needless to say, your ATM machine will make money only when it works as it should, so get ready and prepare your schedule for regular maintenance. Cash is king, so ensure your machines are packed to avoid losing income.

To help you keep your ATM machines in working order, you may want to consider working with a reliable technical support provider or ATM servicing company, especially if you are now looking at scaling up your operations.

Lastly, for the sake of great Customer Support, be responsive to issues and complaints. If customers encounter problems with your ATM, address their concerns promptly to maintain a positive reputation.

Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your ATM Business

Let’s break down what to consider before purchasing and setting up the software for your ATMs.

So, you’ll need ATM management software – it’s your control center. This software lets you keep an eye on your ATMs from afar. You’ll get real-time updates on transactions, cash levels, and any issues that pop up.

I can name a few softwares and invite you to check them out for more information. Just remember that the software you can use depends on the ATM machine you choose in the end.

Here are a few to check out:

  • ATM boss
  • KAL ATM Software
  • NCR APTRA Edge
  • Diebold Nixdorf Vynamic

What do you want your ATM software to do? Well, when it comes to cash, you want to make sure your ATMs are never empty. I suggest using a software that lets you set up alerts for low cash levels and create a replenishment schedule.

Your software can also generate transaction reports. These give you the inside scoop on how well your ATMs are performing, helping you figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Of course, don’t forget to keep your software updated with regular updates and patches.

And, of course, ensure your software follows all the rules and regulations. Keep it compliant with data security and accessibility standards.

Managing ATM software is an ongoing gig. Keep tweaking and optimizing to keep up with your business’s changing needs. With good software management, you’ll keep things running like a well-oiled machine and make the most of your ATM business.

C Corporation (what it is and why it is important)

Well, in the world of ATM business, a C Corporation is a specific legal structure that a business can choose. It’s like picking a certain type of outfit for your business.

In a C Corporation, the business is seen as a separate entity from its owners. This means that the business can make money, pay taxes, and handle legal matters on its own, kind of like a grown-up person.

One big thing about C Corporations is that they can have many different owners, called shareholders, who can be people or other businesses. This can make raising money easier and attract investors to grow your ATM business.

But there’s a downside too. C Corporations can face “double taxation.” This means the business pays taxes on its profits, and then the owners pay taxes again when they get their share of the profits.

So, in the world of ATM businesses, choosing a C Corporation allows you to have more people join your business adventure. It can help you grow, but it might also mean paying a bit more in taxes.

Register Your ATM Business with the IRS

Yes, we must discuss the IRS. In case you do not know, IRS stands for Internal Revenue Service, which is basically the tax authority in the United States.

The folks who make sure that businesses, like your ATM business, pay the right amount of taxes and comply with tax regulations.

When it comes to registering your ATM business with the IRS, it’s all about getting your business’s tax affairs in order.

First thing first, you need to decide on your business structure. Your options typically include a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Your choice affects how your business is taxed.

You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like your business’s social security number.

You’ll need one to open a business bank account and hire employees and for tax purposes. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website, and it’s usually free.

Depending on your business structure, you might need to register for different types of taxes, such as income tax, sales tax, or employment tax. Your business structure and location will determine the specific tax registrations required.

If this feels overwhelming, first, I completely understand. Nevertheless, don’t let this put you down; remember you are not alone.

In fact, it’s a good idea to consult with a tax professional or accountant. They can help you navigate the tax landscape and ensure you do things right.

Setting Up a Business Bank Account

For your ATM business (and actually for any type of business), you should consider setting up a business bank account to keep your finances organized and separate from your personal funds.

As discussed in this article, the first step always involves conducting research.

Compare different banks, paying particular attention to those that offer business accounts and have a strong reputation for customer service.

It’s a good idea to consider national and local banks to determine which best aligns with your business needs.

Considering factors like fees, account types, and any minimum balance requirements is crucial. And you’ll want to choose a bank that fits your financial situation and ATM business requirements.

What documents do you need to open your ATM business bank account?

  • Business Documentation: most banks will require documents verifying your business’s legitimacy. This typically includes your business registration, articles of incorporation, and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
  • Personal Identification: As the account holder, you must also provide personal identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

After you’ve done your research and collected the necessary documents, it’s time to meet with a representative from the bank. This allows you to discuss your ATM business and understand the bank’s specific requirements.

Also, the bank representative will help you choose the appropriate business account type and guide you through the account setup process.

Once your business account is set up, you’ll need to learn how to access and manage it efficiently.

How to keep your business finances in good shape

  • Keep Records: Maintain accurate financial records for your ATM business, including transactions, expenses, and revenues.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly check your account balance and monitor transactions to detect any irregularities.
  • Consult a Financial Advisor: It’s a good idea to consult with a financial advisor or accountant to ensure you’re managing your business finances effectively and in compliance with tax regulations.

Having a dedicated business bank account helps with organization and financial management and simplifies tax reporting. It’s a key step toward running a professional and successful ATM business.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions during your meeting with the bank representative to ensure you choose the right account for your needs. 

Get a Business Credit Card

To step up your ATM business, think about getting a business credit card – it’s a smart move for a few good reasons:

First, it helps keep your personal and business money in separate lanes. That’s crucial for any business.

Plus, having a business credit card lets you build a solid credit history for your business. Think of it as opening doors to better financing and exciting opportunities.

Now, picture convenience. Business credit cards often have nifty features that make tracking expenses a breeze.

In addition, many business credit cards offer perks and rewards, such as cashback and travel miles. It’s like getting extra goodies just for doing what you already do.

A couple of things to remember: shop around to find the right card that suits your ATM business needs. Look at interest rates, fees, and rewards.

And speaking of your personal credit score – it matters, especially if your ATM business is new. Keep it in mind as you explore your credit card options.

Lastly, be a responsible credit card user. It’s not a free pass to splurge. Make sure you pay off your balances on time to dodge those annoying high-interest charges.

Obtain An ATM Business License And Other Necessary Permits

Securing the essential licenses and permits is a crucial step toward launching your ATM business. To ensure a smooth start, here are some top tips:

  1. Research Local Requirements: Regulations for ATM operators can vary widely by location. Thoroughly research your area’s specific licensing and permitting requirements to avoid legal complications.
  2. Consult Local Authorities: Contact your local and state authorities or small business development centers. They can guide you through the necessary permits, fees, and paperwork needed for your ATM business.
  3. Check for Additional Regulations: Beyond the basic business license, some areas may have specific rules governing ATM placement, security, or accessibility. Make sure you’re aware of and compliant with all relevant regulations.
  4. Establish Credibility: Obtaining the required licenses and permits keeps you on the right side of the law and signals your credibility to potential business partners and the locations where you plan to install your ATMs.

Compliance with these rules is essential for operating legally and helps establish trust with potential partners and locations where you plan to install your ATMs. It’s a foundational step toward building a successful ATM business in 2024.

Get Business Insurance for Your ATM Business

Getting your business insurance is not as fun as many of the actions you must take to start an ATM business. Still, it is fundamental to protecting your investment and mitigating risks.

From my experience as a small business owner, I’ve learned firsthand how essential this step is. When I launched my own e-commerce business a few years back, I initially underestimated the importance of insurance.

However, after a series of unfortunate incidents, including a data breach, I quickly realized the significance of having the right coverage in place.

I was fortunate to have chosen a reputable insurer that helped me recover financially and provided guidance on choosing the right coverage that my business needed.

Top Tip: Before securing your business insurance, conduct a thorough risk assessment specific to your needs. Identify potential vulnerabilities and discuss them with your insurer to ensure your coverage adequately protects you against these risks. It’s a proactive approach that can save you from unexpected financial hardships down the road.

Determining Surcharge Fee and Additional Percentage Charges

Determining surcharge fees and additional percentage charges in your ATM business is like finding the sweet spot for your cash flow. You want to balance making a profit and keeping your users happy.

We must think like real business owners in this regard especially!

The first thing you must consider and check out is the competition. Look at what other ATMs in your area are charging. You don’t want to go too high and scare people away, but you also don’t want to go too low and miss out on earnings.

Consider your expenses as I described above. You’ve got costs like machine maintenance, insurance, cash replenishment, and location fees. Your surcharge fee needs to cover these and leave room for profit.

Now, the extra percentage charges. If you’re part of a surcharge-free network or working with a bank, you can earn a cut of the interchange fees. Think about what percentage you’re comfortable with as your profit margin.

Also, think about the user experience. You want your fees to be reasonable so people keep returning to your ATMs.

Top tip: Regularly review your surcharge fees and additional percentage charges. The ATM business landscape can change, so staying flexible and adjusting your pricing strategy as needed can help you maximize your profits.

Offer Additional Services

Now that we have reviewed how to set up your ATM business like real business owners would, it is time to check out how you can scale your operations by offering additional services.

Here are some practical ideas with tips and advice:

  1. Bill Payment Services: Offering bill payment services is like adding a one-stop shop to your ATM. It attracts more users, especially those looking for convenience. Partner with bill payment service providers to offer various options, from utilities to credit cards.Tip: Ensure you have a user-friendly interface for easy bill payments.
  2. Mobile Top-Ups: Everyone’s glued to their phones these days. Giving people the option to top up their mobiles at your ATMs is like a win-win. It’s convenient for them, and you earn a fee.Tip: Offer top-ups for various carriers to attract a broader user base.
  3. Check Cashing: Some folks still deal with paper checks, and cashing them at your ATMs is a real perk. Ensure your ATMs can handle this service and consider offering it for free or at a competitive rate to attract more users.Tip: Keep a clear policy and limit check amounts to manage risk.
  4. Foreign Currency Exchange: Consider adding foreign currency exchange services if your ATMs are in tourist hotspots. It’s like making life easier for travelers; you can earn a margin on the exchange rates.Tip: Offer competitive rates and have a variety of foreign currencies available.
  5. ATM Advertising: Utilize the screen space on your ATMs for local advertising. It’s like turning your ATMs into marketing platforms. Partner with local businesses to display ads that are relevant to your users.

The key to success is understanding your users and their needs. Engaging with your customers could be a great way to determine which services would be most appealing in your area.

Final Thoughts

First, I hope you found this guide as helpful and exciting as I did when I learned about this business model.

We concluded that launching and operating an ATM business can be rewarding when approached with dedication, strategic planning, and ongoing management, as this business model still offers solid opportunities for financial success in 2024.

I wish you nothing but the best in your entrepreneurial path!

FAQs Section

Is the ATM business dying?

No, the ATM business is not dying. While technological advances and digital payment methods have changed how people access cash, ATMs remain vital to the financial ecosystem. As long as people need to withdraw cash for various transactions, ATMs will continue to provide that convenience.

What are the ongoing expenses for an ATM business?

Ongoing expenses for an ATM business typically include costs for cash replenishment, communication and processing fees, maintenance, insurance, and rental or commission fees paid to ATM host locations. Typically, ongoing expenses are relatively small versus the initial investment needed. This is what makes starting an ATM business a great option.

How much can you charge customers?

ATM operators can typically charge a surcharge fee to customers for using their machines. The fee can vary widely depending on factors like location, competition, and local regulations. Setting competitive and reasonable surcharge fees to attract users while covering your costs and generating profit is important.

Can you start an atm business with no money?

Starting an ATM business with absolutely no money is challenging. You’ll need capital for purchasing or leasing ATMs, initial cash loading, and other startup costs. However, there are financing options available, and some ATM operators partner with businesses or locations that provide the capital in exchange for a share of the profits.

Is it profitable to start an ATM business?

Yes, an ATM business can be profitable. The profitability depends on factors like the number of ATMs in your network, their locations, transaction volumes, and operating expenses. With careful planning and effective management, you can generate a steady income from your ATM business.

How do I get an ATM machine?

You can purchase ATM machines from manufacturers or distributors, lease them from ATM providers, or find used machines from reputable sources. Be sure to choose ATMs that meet industry standards, are reliable, and fit the needs of your target locations. Consider factors like security features, connectivity, and manufacturer reputation when acquiring ATM machines for your business.

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