Owning your own ATM may sound like a good choice, since it lets you keep all the profits. But to make an informed decision, you need to be aware of the downsides, too.
Let’s start with some common misconceptions:
- The major banks own all ATMs
Fact – The majority of cash dispensers or “white label machines” are run by businesses that compete with banks and other financial institutions.
Advice – Research the ATM providers in your community or city and select one that fits your specific business needs.
- ATM providers primarily sell the hardware (the machine itself)
Fact – There are three main options when selecting your ATM setup:
- A turnkey solution where a provider looks after all aspects of the functioning of the ATM on your behalf.
- A more hands-on approach in which the provider maintains and monitors the machine, but you load your own cash.
- Ownership of the ATM, where you load and maintain the machine yourself.
Advice – A turnkey solution is often the best choice as it removes the work of operating and maintaining the machine. Find out up front if your ATM provider will charge for supplies (such as paper rolls, cartridge replacements, card readers and screens) and administer fees (including statement and monthly monitoring fees).
- It’s easy to own and load your own ATM
Fact – Before plugging in your machine, you need to complete a background check, set up a business bank account, register with a processing company, and get certified with Interac, Visa and Mastercard.
Advice – Let the qualified ATM providers deal with this on your behalf.
- The surcharge is set by the ATM provider or by the banks
Fact – You should be able to negotiate when setting a surcharge.
Advice – An unwillingness to negotiate the surcharge is often a red flag.
- An ATM contract automatically expires at the end of the contract term
Fact – This isn’t always true.
Advice – If you aren’t sure, ask for a trial period with no contractual obligations. If your representative implies you should feel fortunate to offer this service to your customers without financial benefit to you, alarm bells should be going off. If they don’t offer a split or a commission on the surcharge, look elsewhere.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN ATM PROVIDER:
A local company should give you a more efficient service, whether it’s a cash-loading schedule, a technical issue, a maintenance call or a sales call. Out-of-province ATM providers may use a third-party armoured car service to load cash and service your ATM. This may mean a loss of potential income if your machine is out of service in peak hours.
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
How long have they been in business?
Do they have an office you can visit?
Do they have full-time service and office staff?
Will a sales person meet you in person?
Will a sales person offer you a site analysis for optimal placement of the ATM?
Do they research the existing competitors near your business?
Do they offer web reports?
Do they have live after-hours tech support?
Will a certified technician install your machine and offer training for trouble-shooting common issues?
TOP 3 TIPS:
Don’t be afraid of change. Do you know what your current provider is actually offering you? Is it fair? Does it align with your business needs? Take back control of the ATM real estate in your business.
Only do business with providers that offer clear communication and answer your questions in a forthcoming manner.
Look for an ATM provider that emphasizes knowledge, integrity, and flexible service, and that evolves with the needs of your business.
CHRISTINA PROKOP brings 20 years of experience to her role as Director of Sales at Connect Cash. Christina strives for excellence throughout her sales process and consistently exceeds her client’s expectations.
Resources: According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Banker’s Association, http://www.cba.ca/en/media-room/50-backgrounders-on-banking-issues/118-abm-market-in-canada
- “18 per cent of Canadians report that they conduct the majority of their financial transactions at ABMs
- There are over 65,000 bank machines in Canada and 18,775 of these are bank-owned ABMs”