Start your own ATM Business (Avoid These Mistakes!)

With the rise of cashless transactions and the need for convenient access to cash, ATMs have become an essential part of daily life for all of us.

We mostly see two types of ATM machines around us.

starting  an ATM business in 2023

One have a bank logo plastered on them and are typically affiliated with bank branches or affiliated locations like retail stores and gas stations

The other types of ATMs are owned by individuals or independent ATM operators and are not affiliated with any particular bank.

They are usually located in non-bank locations such as convenience stores, malls, or other public areas.

These ATMs are owned, operated, and maintained by independent operators who earn revenue by charging fees for withdrawals made at their machines.

Such independent ATMs offer greater convenience and accessibility to customers who may not have access to a bank-owned machine.

For your information, independent ATMs account for 278,394 of the 470,135 ATMs in the United States.

This equates to 59.2% of the market share.

Evidently, there is a large market for independent ATM operators, making it a profitable (and somewhat passive) business venture.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with an ATM business.

So, let’s dive in!

Researching For the ATM Business

Every business starts from a business plan, and to set up a business plan, we need to research the market, analyze the current trends etc.

market research

Look for industry trends.

It is evident that despite the rise of digital banking, ATM usage has been increasing steadily over the years.

And as many customers still prefer the convenience of physical cash, this trend is expected to continue in the future.

Spy on your competitors


SPY on your competition to find out….

Where are the ATM machine most needed?

At what locations are machines the most profitable?

How much are they charging per transaction?

What kind of machines are they using?

What are the profit margins?

This will help you identify gaps in the market, and you can develop your own business plan.

Once a business plan is ready, we move to the legal documentation of our ATM business.

Understand the legalities of an ATM business.

image showing legal docs required for a business

Determining the business structure

Choosing the right business structure is crucial as it determines your personal liability, tax obligations, and management responsibilities.

You can choose from several options, including

a sole proprietorship,

limited liability company (LLC), or


Each structure has its pros and cons, so it’s important to consult with a legal professional to determine the best option for your business.

Required permits and licenses

Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses is essential to operate an ATM business legally.

You may need to obtain a business license, sales tax permit, or other permits depending on your location and the type of business you are operating.

It is important to research and comply with all local and state regulations.

You also need to open a business bank account.

Here are my recommended best banks for small businesses.

Getting Insurance

Then comes insurance…

I can’t stand insurance, but business insurance is essential to protect your business from potential risks and liabilities.

General liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance are two types of insurance that you should consider.

General liability insurance protects your business from third-party claims, while workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for workplace injuries.

Fulfilling the tax requirements

Whether you like it or not, as a business owner, you are responsible for paying taxes to the IRS.

It is important to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and register with the IRS to ensure that you are paying the appropriate taxes.

Additionally, you may need to collect and remit sales tax on transactions, depending on your location.

All of the above things might sound confusing to you.

Hence it is important to consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure that you are operating your ATM business legally and responsibly.

I like to start businesses too. As of 2023, I own multiple businesses. This video has a sneak peek into some other ventures that I run along with this blog.

Now back to the ATM business

Setting Up Your ATM Business

Once the legal nuances have been sorted out, we will now look into some other important items.

This section will cover choosing ATM locations, getting the machines, and hiring staff.

Choosing ATM Locations

For the location, look for high-traffic areas with plenty of foot traffic, such as shopping malls, convenience stores, and other retail locations.

You can also consider leasing space in a free-standing ATM kiosk or partnering with a business owner to place your ATM in their store.

Choosing the right type of ATM machine

people using atm machines

There are several types of ATM machines available in the market, each with its own set of features and functionalities.

Some common types of ATM machines include:

Basic units

These ATMs only allow customers to withdraw cash, receive updates on their account balance, and change their card PINs.

Complex or full-service ATMs

These units offer comprehensive functions such as cash deposits and transfers, along with withdrawals and account updates.

Free-standing ATMs:

These ATMs are standalone units that are not attached to a building or wall. They can be placed in a variety of locations, such as parking lots, malls, and other public areas.

Through-the-wall ATMs:

These ATMs are installed into a wall or partition, allowing customers to access the machine from both sides of the wall.

Wall-mounted ATMs:

These ATMs are attached to a wall and can be installed in a variety of locations, such as inside a retail store or bank branch.

Mobile ATMs:

These ATMs are mounted on a vehicle and can be driven to different locations as needed.

The type of ATM machine you choose will depend on your business needs, location, and budget.

ATM machine manufacturers

Here are the five big manufacturers of atm machines in the world.

NCR Corporation

Diebold Nixdorf

Nautilus Hyosung

Triton Systems


Like setting up ATM machines, another interesting and similar idea could be investing in vending machines.

Vending machines also function on the same business model, except that you have to fill them with products instead of cash.

Here is my deep dive into starting a vending machine business.

Hire the necessary staff.

While starting any business, we are trying to bootstrap and might have to wear a lot of hats in the beginning.

So it’s better to start with limited staff and then hire more as your business grows.

Staff needed for an ATM business typically include:

Operations Manager

Oversees daily operations and staff management.

Technical Support Staff

Installs, maintains, and troubleshoots ATMs.

Cash Management Team

Manages cash supply and reconciles transactions.

Customer Service Representatives

Handle inquiries and technical issues.

Sales and Business Development Representatives

Acquire locations and partnerships.

Compliance Officer

Ensures regulatory compliance.

Accounting and Finance Staff:

Manage financial aspects of the business.

How does an ATM machine generate revenue?

There are multiple ways to make money through an ATM machine.

They are listed below…

Transaction Fees

Transaction fees are the fees charged to customers for using your ATM machine.

The transaction fee is usually a small percentage of the amount withdrawn, typically between $2 and $4.

You can set your transaction fees to cover your costs and generate a profit.

ATM Surcharges

ATM surcharges are fees charged to customers for using an ATM that is not owned by their bank.

These fees can range from $1 to $3 per transaction.

You can set your ATM surcharges to generate additional revenue.

Interchange Fees

Interchange fees are fees paid by banks to ATM owners for processing transactions.

These fees are usually a percentage of the transaction amount, typically between $0.20 and $0.50 per transaction.

Interchange fees can be a significant source of revenue for your ATM business.

Additional Services

Offering additional services (like below) can also help generate revenue for your ATM business.

Cash and check deposits

Bill payments

Money transfers

Prepaid card loading

Account management

Foreign currency exchange

Charity donations

Remember to keep your fees reasonable and competitive with other ATM businesses in your area.

Also, make sure to refill your machines with cash regularly to avoid running out of money and losing potential revenue.

By following these tips, you can create a profitable ATM business that generates passive income for years to come.

As you know, I like to give business ideas.

Here is a friend of ours who made $100K in six months selling vacuum cleaners…

How did she do that? Let’s watch the video below.

What To Avoid When Launching An ATM Business? 

Not investing in new equipment.

Purchasing second-hand ATM equipment may appear enticing, but you must be cautious of what you purchase.

If you buy old equipment, you risk having to do a lot of maintenance and possibly losing sites and customers because of out-of-service equipment.

Overlooking EMV

EMV technology is a global standard for credit and debit card transactions that use computer chips to reduce the risk of fraud.

By not implementing EMV technology (EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa) in your ATMs, you may be exposing yourselves to increased liability for fraudulent transactions.

In addition, many banks and financial institutions now require EMV compliance for ATM operators to participate in their networks.

Failure to comply with EMV standards can result in lost revenue and damage to the reputation of your ATM business.

Setting your surcharge fees too low

When it comes to extra fees and commissions, be cautious when negotiating with your merchants.

Don’t give too much of your profit margin away. 

You must be familiar with the market and understand what is expected while also being careful not to give up too much.

You will be more satisfied with your revenue in the long term if you establish your margins appropriately right away.

Setting up in a suboptimal location 

Make sure your locations aren’t too far off from each other or from your main base.

A well-knit network of teller machines is thus more desirable to purchasers.

Exaggerating your expected cash flow 

There are many websites that claim that each ATM may earn you $500 per month or more.

The majority of the time, these projections are way off the mark. 

A more realistic budget is around $250-$300 in earnings on the high end. $150-$200 is a solid bet on the low end.

Make some calls, chat with merchants, and be conservative with your earning projections in the ATM business.

Miscalculating the required capital 

To supply the machines on a rotating basis, you’ll need cash – a lot of it.

You should budget at least $2,000 per terminal per week.

If you want to deploy ten terminals, you’ll need at least $20k in working capital, if not more, to keep the ATMs running.

Not having a solid relationship with a bank.

You should check with your local bank to see whether they can support your ATM operation.

At this time, some banks will not support the ATM business, so make sure yours does. 

These banks might assist you in launching your ATM business.

Not setting up contracts with merchants.

You should make every effort to secure written agreements with your merchants if you wish to sell or defend your ATM locations.

You’ll also have nothing to fall back on if the retailers decide to remove your ATM or allow a competitor in.

It would be best to protect yourself and get some contracts signed! 

Having your own ATM business FAQs

Is ATM business profitable?

Yes, an ATM business can be profitable if managed correctly.

The profitability of an ATM business depends on several factors, including the location and number of machines, the fees charged for transactions, and the cost of maintaining and operating the machines.

Is the ATM business dying?

No, the ATM business is not dying. As long as cash remains in use, there will be a need for ATM machines.

What is the cost to start ATM business?

Here are some of the costs to consider when starting an ATM business:

ATM machine
Cash reserves
Maintenance and repair

How much do ATM owners make?

On average, independent ATM owners can earn between $300 to $1,000 per month per machine, depending on the location and the number of transactions made. 

Final Thoughts 

The most fantastic aspect of having an ATM business is that you have complete control over the majority of the factors that influence your success.

You choose:

  • Where you want to place your machines 
  • How much you’re willing to spend on equipment and staff
  • The amount of your transaction fees
  • Who you want to work with 

ATMs are growing more popular than ever as Americans place a greater emphasis on convenience and accessibility. 

This is especially true when it comes to banking.

You may capitalize on this trend by launching an ATM business and assisting business owners by providing ATM services on their premises. 

Operating an ATM business provides you with a great deal of flexibility in terms of operation hours and locations.

You could even run it as a side business.

Looking for some more business ideas, they are right here,

Start a porta-potty business

Start a home healthcare business

Start a car transport business

Start an errand running business

Start a hotdog business

Disclosure: This article might contain affiliate links to the resources I refer to. It's at no cost to you, and it's how we pay the bills. Get more info here.

Brooks Conkle Banner Image
Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.