Owning an ATM can be a lucrative business. It provides recurring, semi-passive residual income through the collection of service fees and even benefits stores and businesses by attracting new customers to enter for the purpose of withdrawing cash.
But like any business, ATM ownership incurs operational costs. It’s not as simple as set it and forget it. Ongoing maintenance to keep it in good shape is imperative because a broken ATM won’t just cost you money on repairs – there are opportunity costs to consider as well. Not only does a non-functioning ATM mean you’re lost profits due to forfeited withdrawals, you may also have lost future transactions because customers will remember your ATM didn’t work.
Luckily, there are a few easy, inexpensive key tactics and tools that you can use to ensure your ATM remains in optimal shape – and profitable. Here are our top 5 tips for proactive ATM maintenance.
1. Ensure Your Software is Always Up-to-Date
Here’s a startling figure: each year, ATM users numbering in the millions fall victim to card skimming, card, and cash trapping, transaction reversal fraud, and ATM cybercrime.
It’s important that ATM owners take all possible measures to prevent these issues, including performing regular software updates and upgrades, applying whitelisting to block malware and implementing the latest cybersecurity practices. This is particularly true for older model ATMs which are particularly susceptible to these attacks.
While you may incur costs in the short term, a secure ATM will provide peace of mind and help avoid potentially costly lawsuits down the line.
2. Keep Your Machine Clean and Functional
As an ATM owner, a clean machine might not seem like the highest priority. But it’s an important factor to keep on top of for a number of reasons.
The first is that consumers are sensitive to cleanliness and are more likely to use ATMs that look clean and don’t appear filthy. More customers mean more profits.
But there’s also the impact that an unclean machine can have on functionality. Card readers, touch screens and keypads are continually exposed to finger oils and the dirt, ink, and contaminants typical of cash handling. While it might not seem like much, the use of some simple cleaning tools, like cleaning cards, wipes and swabs are proven to improve transaction times, reduce costly service calls and minimize downtime of your ATM.
3. Implement Security and Loss Prevention Systems
The most profitable ATMs are those located in high-traffic areas because there is a constant flow of people either using the machines or in the immediate vicinity. For that same reason, they are also the least susceptible to crime and theft.
But not all ATMs can and will be in high-traffic areas and even those that are can still be the target of crime.
To keep your ATM secure, don’t overlook the basics like solid locks. If you’re concerned about the strength of your machine’s locks, have the manufacturer replace or upgrade them. You can also look at utilizing a variety of security seals for loss prevention applications, including tamper-indicating ATM cassette seals, labels and tape. Even things like adhesive-backed door height markers can be used to aid in determining the height of potential intruders and can be placed near ATMs.
4. Plan in Advance for Restocking Needs
ATMs are constantly churning out assets. This means they inevitably require restocking of integral components – from cash to receipt and journal rolls, inkjet cartridges and replacement OEM cassettes. Running out of any of these components could mean your machine goes down and costs you profit. Ensuring you’re ahead of the ball on restocking will guarantee your machine is efficient, functional and providing your customers with a great experience.
When it comes to cash replenishment, don’t wait until your machine runs out. Keep tabs on your ATM’s cash capacity and go through the cash replenishment procedure as soon as it starts to run low. There’s nothing worse for a customer than trying to withdraw cash and being told the machine has insufficient funds. It’s also important to ensure your OEM cassettes are in tip-top shape to avoid jams and breakdowns.
Even thermal paper, receipt roll, and ink cartridge restocking can creep up on you, and reordering can take time. This downtime means your machine isn’t operating with its full range of functionalities and in turn might be costing you profits. At Northern Specialty Supplies, we offer warehousing solutions to help you ensure you have quick access to replenishment of ATM supplies as soon as you need them, eliminating wait times and ensuring your machine is operating at full capacity.
5. Utilize a Strategic Cash Replenishment Routine
The cash replenishment procedure is a critical moment for ATM owners and there are some important steps to build into your routine. Replenish your OEM cassettes one at a time and make sure you take time to flip through stacks of cash to ensure there are no counterfeit or torn bills and that none bare any markings that they might be stolen. It’s also imperative that you ensure all bills are in the correct denomination. For security reasons, times and days when you replenish cash to avoid predictability.
For any ATM that accepts deposits, the removal and transportation of these items is also vitally important. Utilizing tools like tamper-evident deposit bags will ensure that they arrive at their final destination exactly as they left your ATM.
According to Reuters, effective ATM maintenance costs, on average, around $165 per month. But with the price of new machines running anywhere between $15,000 and $65,000, and potential profits running in the tens of thousands of dollars annually, the cost of regular maintenance is a drop in the bucket when weighed against the long-term benefits.