How Buying Works
We have many ATM routes for sale and you can see them here.
If you are interested in one of our routes for sale please complete our digital non-disclosure form.
When walking you through the buying process we will do everything we can to ensure you are fully informed about the ATM business for sale as well as the industry in general. We have sold and consulted with routes and portfolios of all sizes: from small, 5-10 machine turnkey-passive portfolios, to large, full-service 300+ machine portfolios.
If you are interested in building an ATM business from the ground up, we can assist you with any start up project or learn how to create passive income. If you are considering purchasing machines or other equipment we can help you with those needs as well. ATM Brokerage offers a full guide on buying and installing new machines. Contact us to find out more.
If you are looking for ATM Machines, sales and processing information please visit our ATM Equipment site at https://connectatm.com
Key info in Purchasing an ATM Business
The ATM industry brings unique opportunities to entrepreneurs and investors. Core aspects of the industry thrived through COVID and the businesses that were shut down are now open again. This renewed business activity has brought stability back to most ATM portfolios in 2022 and 2023. There continues to be great opportunities and quick capitalization of acquisitions with a traditional owned and loaded portfolio. The return on money is a little slower in the other types of portfolios (see below) such as processing and managed portfolios.
The industry continues to struggle with leverage for buyers as we don’t see traditional business loans and especially don’t have SBA activity within the industry (that we at ATM Brokerage have seen). Also, most purchases are cash purchases with little to no owner financing (in most cases) and the new owners need to provide the cash for the ATMs operations (the cash in the machines is not part of the purchase price). Unfortunately, this aspect is what keeps many potential acquirers out of the business. Owner financing has become more common in the last few years but is generally used to reduce risk based on a lack of Merchant Contracts or other risk related factors.
Variations in operations are more typical as more original owners/operators retire and more hands-off buyers enter the industry. Many investors want 3rd Party Operated or Processing Only portfolios so they can have a hands-off approach to the business and can manage assets in any part of the country. The industry has very few franchises, so most purchases are small and mid-sized operators selling their own portfolio that they built from scratch.
We classify most ATM portfolios into a few categories:
- Own & Load – ATM Operator owns the ATMs and loads the ATMs on their own or with their own team utilizing their own cash or cash they have loaned from their bank.
- 3rd Party Operated – ATM Operator owns the ATMs and a 3rd party provider (another operator or Armored services) loads the ATMs the operator’s cash or cash they have loaned from their bank.
- Processing Only – ATM Operator is only the processor for the transactions (and generally involved in providing maintenance of the ATMs.
- Financial Institution ATMs – ATM Operator owns the ATMs and loads the ATMs on their own or with their own team utilizing their own cash or cash they have loaned from their bank. The customer is a Bank or Credit Union that outsources the ATM operations and pays an ATM Operator to manage their branded ATMs.
Owning and Operating an ATM Business:
Owning and maintaining ATMs is a way many people earn a living and create additional or passive income streams.
As an owner of an ATM business, you are buying ATM machines, finding locations and installing them in locations, filling them with cash and making money every time a customer withdraws money from the machine. Once the money is taken out of your ATM it is re-deposited into a bank account of your choice on a daily basis along with the surcharge fees.
A portion of the surcharge fee is typically paid to the merchant in the form of a commission or split. Additional revenue can be made on each ATM transaction in the form of interchange. All your machines can be monitored online through a portal where you can see real time information about how much cash is in each machine and how many transactions and fees have occurred. The purchase of your ATM route usually does NOT include the employees to fill the ATMs because the operator will no longer be available for these services.
(Operators do have real risks and can run into issues such as robberies personally and vandalism of machines, although these issues are very uncommon.)
ATM processing is the function the processor handles for your ATMs. The Main processors are: PAI, Switch Commerce, CDS, DNS as well as some smaller processors. These are the companies that handle the transactions, movement of funds and electronic transactions as well as give you access to your terminals online and handle the network and banking transactions.
The processor will give you real time information and access to reporting of all of your terminals from your PC, tablet or mobile device. You have very easy access to just about any report and notifications when the machines are in need to vault cash or maintenance.
- Phone– ATMs can be connected to regular dial up phone connections.
- Internet– ATMs can be hardwired via ethernet/CAT5 cable straight to the machine, this is the most effective and least expensive option.
- Wireless– Many operators use a wireless option where a phone line or internet hardwire is not an option to connect ATM machine. Wireless ATM link up are enabling some features via the ATM link that were previously not capable and I expect this innovation to continue.
Service, maintenance and installation:
Basic maintenance for smaller routes is essentially filling the machines with cash and making sure the receipt paper is available and full. A quick clean-up of the machine and once over of the dispenser unit is all that is typically required. The maintenance of the ATM portfolio is typically very minimal with little to no breakdowns on a month to month basis.
We see actual service calls at about a 1-2% volume per location per month. With a 100 ATM portfolio we would expect actual service/breakage calls to be 1-2 calls per month.
Installation costs vary between $200-$500 depending on the location and the complexity of the installation, running wiring for internet/phone or electrical will typically run you more.
Vault Cash providers and Banking:
Self-Vaulted- This is where you load your own cash or borrowed cash into your own ATMs. Please Contact Us for local references in your area for repair, parts, vault cash or maintenance
Outsource to 3rd party-These are 3rd party companies who will deliver cash to your machines for a cost, typically billed out on a ‘per drop/delivery’ basis or per transaction basis.
Banking in the ATM business has become a larger concern with some governmental regulations which did not necessarily target the ATM business although have had some effect. I would advise you to engage with your local bank and ask them about supporting an ATM business. They will likely have several questions for you around your cash needs. This can be calculated based on your projections. Also, check out our website for a list of banks that may support your business: https://connectatm.com/atm-banks/
We prefer to group ATM locations into 2 basic tiers.
Tier 1-These can be described most simply as locations any independent ATM deployer would target. Most of these locations will already have an ATM, the merchant will know about the ATM business and expect income and split from the ATM surcharge. These will be tough locations to find and secure but with a good effort and a bit of luck they can be found.
The idea here is to look for foot traffic and a captive audience that would use an ATM. The traffic and the audience and location do matter. For example, some very large ‘sit down’ restaurants have a ton of foot traffic although payment is made from the table and these places usually don’t need ATMs. On the other hand high foot traffic tourist area or very busy take away restaurants can make very good ATM locations.
- Convenience Stores– These are obvious and most every one of these has an ATM. Look for independently owned. Forget about large chains; try to eliminate them during cold calling as not to waste time
- Concert halls/music venues/Entertainment complexes- Depending on the foot traffic, these can be very good locations.
- Strip Clubs-Fairly obvious captive audience and if foot traffic is there, these are very good locations.
- Hotels– Large hotels with more 250+ rooms are great targets. Independently owned/non-corporate hotels are ideal targets
- Bars/nightclubs– These are good targets in the current ATM marketplace. Owners of these establishments are looking to lower their credit card costs. The easy pitch here to a bar owner is to give them an example of card use. A customer walks in, orders a single drink and wants to pay for it with a Credit card. The bar owner makes little money on this transaction and he or she knows this.
- Cash only- Any cash only restaurant, bar, convenience store or otherwise is an ideal ATM location.
(The ATM in an establishment can help set minimums and force customers to pay cash for single drink orders. Cash payments lower credit card costs and potentially the owners tax burden.)
Tier 2 – These are as lessor known locations which are typically non-corporate and tend to be locally owned. Some of these locations are not obvious targets for national deployers of ATMs. Larger ATM operators see them as lower volume and not locations worth their time but for the smaller owner/operator these can be great locations.
- Bars/Taverns/Sports Bars/Chinese Buffets
- Hotel/Motel- Smaller than 200 rooms
- Bowling Alley
- Smaller Amusement Parks/fairs
- Office complexes, 500+ people
- 24/7 Diners
- Hair Salon/Barber- cash only or very busy locations
- Liquor Stores, especially if they have convenience items, alcohol, lottery, cigarettes etc.
- Movie Theatre
- Nail Salon
- VFW, American Legion, Elks Lodge etc., often are cash only
- DMV- These can be cash only although difficult to negotiate state/government contract and slowly migrating in credit card acceptance
- Fast Food/pizza and or mom and pop independently owned restaurants
- Travel Stops
- Tourist attractions
- Outdoor installation near high traffic areas
A contract is typically signed between the merchant and the owner of the ATM. The key items which you should make sure to include are a term or length of the contract, statement of ownership of the ATM and payout schedule whether a percentage, flat rate etc. of the surcharge. Sample Contract please feel free to utilize this sample contract and consult an attorney with any detailed questions.
Contracts are very important when you decide to sell a portfolio. Upon starting and building your ATM business contracts may not seem important although as you grow you will want to ensure that you have contracts in place.
Term– We prefer to see contracts for 3-5 years with some type of auto renew clause as long as that is legal in your state, please consult with local attorney before proceeding with auto-renew contracts as they may not be enforceable or legal in the state you reside.
Statement of ownership– Be sure your contract states that you are the owner of the ATM if you indeed are the owner. This will protect you in cases where a merchant sells a location to a new owner and an attempt to claim ownership could be made. This will also protect you in cases where a merchant either goes out of business or the business is shuttered for some reason. You will want to make sure you can prove ownership of the machine in these cases. This is also an easy way to tell the merchant that you need something on paper.
Capital requirements- Based on our experience we would calculate your cash requirements in this manner:
Take the number of projected transactions. After analyzing data on thousands and thousands of ATM locations, I will tell you the average number of surcharge withdrawal transactions across the board is anywhere from 100-150 transactions per month. Of course, some locations are much higher with 300+ transactions and some can be lower with fewer than 100. Unless you are receiving 100% of the surcharge and your fee is set high, a location with less than 50 transactions can be tough to make a good income on.
Given the 100-150 total monthly withdrawals, I have also seen a national average of around $70 per withdrawal.
Given these 2 averages, your capital requirements are going to average $7,000-$10,000 per month. Projecting a weekly cash load this type of machine will require around $2000-$3000. I think planning on $2000-$3000 per location, per week for vault cash is a safe bet. If you run into a unique location or a very high volume location, you will need to up the number although the $70 per withdrawal is a good number to use.
3rd Party/Armor Truck costs
Here are several costs to continue when considering the outsourcing of the cash vault services
Cost of cash– cash loans are available for 3-4 points over Prime Rate depending on the volume of the portfolio and the provider along with a several other factors
Insurance– $25 insurance on vault cash per location
Additional fees– .03-.05 cents per transaction for cash management
Cost of armored courier– approximately $65-$85 per trip
# of ATM Machines: 1
# of Transactions per ATM per Month: 300
Interest Rate on Cash Float Prime+4 @ 8.5%
Amount of Cash Withdrawal per Trans: $60.00
Transactions Surcharge Per Transaction: $3.00
(300 transactions x $3.00)
Total Income: $900.00
Cash Interest on loan: $127.50
Armored Courier $80.00
Cash Management Fee (0.03) $15.00
Total Expenses $252.50
Estimated Profit before merchant commission
Net monthly profit: $647.50
Again, contact me for local references for vault cash and or maintenance and specific questions around 3rd party vault costs
Insurance is available for ATMs and the cash inside the ATMs, please consult with AS Risk – https://www.asrisk.com/atm-cash-insurance
Some sellers carry insurance and some do not, it’s really a preference item.
Financials and Reports:
Revenue: This is the top line in the ATM business and includes the total surcharge income plus any Interchange or other income including sales of ATM equipment or service income from installations and maintenance.
Merchant commission or split: This is the percentage share of the surcharge which is paid to the merchant typically on a per transaction fee.
Outside of merchant commission, there are several variable expenses to consider and here are a few:
Initial equipment costs- See equipment section for more details
Receipt Paper, Parts, Repair- this is a highly variable cost depending on location, use, repair schedule, age of the machine, etc. A case of Receipt paper with 8 rolls cost approximately $60. A medium to high volume location is going through no more than one roll per month. Slower locations may go through one roll per quarter.
Fuel- this is a highly variable cost dependent on your vehicle type, frequency of cash loads/service and geography of route
Cost of Capital-Another variable cost dependent on the structure of a loan or access to the capital, please see banking and capital section for more information regarding this.
Communication costs- This cost is not always a concern as discussed in the communication section, if you take advantage of the merchant’s internet or phone line there is no additional cost. If you have a wireless router in place, expect to pay between $4-$20 per month depending on the owner set up. We can get you wireless for $4.99 per month.
Self vaulted, owner vaulted
3rd party vaulted
Vehicle maintenance- highly variable
Basic business expenses– phone, postage, checks, website maintenance etc.
Insurance. This again is a variable cost and some deployers carry it and some do not.
The nice thing in the ATM business is the numbers are the numbers. The surcharge revenue is captured automatically as is the commission and the wireless fees and it’s all verified by a 3rd party. With that said, tax returns are typically not provided with the listing with us.
Everything outside of that is operational and highly variable. One owner might drive a Toyota Prius on the route and load machines once a month…where another drives a gas guzzling 1974 Chevy Van that gets 8 miles to the gallon and loads the machines on a daily basis. Also, you might use 100k to load 10 machines and go once a month, I might use 10k and load machines once a day. You might pay an armor truck carrier $200 a month, I might pay my unemployed cousin $500 per month.
Outside of that it’s all operational and again, really highly variable.
The only expenses that are not available are operational expenses such as capital required, fuel, receipt paper (very minimal expense), labor, and parts/maintenance. With all these items your expenses may vary highly depending on how much capital you are going to put in these units, how frequently you are going to load the machines and what your labor costs are.
The current expenses actually are not even directionally helpful as his labor costs, cost of fuel, capital costs (which are the main expenses) could be much higher or lower than yours.
Glossary and Resources
Advertising & Marketing– Click here to download a sample marketing flyer which is a basic one-page marketing materials I used to place in excess of 300 locations.
Armor Truck ready– This means the ATM can be vaulted by an armor truck, which normally requires audit-locks and a higher cassette capacity
Audit Lock– This is a single use lock which is a basic requirement from he Armor truck companies. This lock allows you to program the lock so that it gives out a new code every time the lock is used
Commission- Merchant split, commission, lease payment, cut to the merchant etc are all terms for the amount typically paid to the merchant in an AMT placement
Contract- The contract is the agreement that is typically signed between the merchant and the owner of the ATM. See here for a sample which I have utilized; Sample Contract
EMV– Stands for Europay, Mastercard, Visa; this a new chip enabled card which the card issuers are deploying now . Between 2016-2017 ATMs will need to be ATM compliant. Click here for a list of make and model costs by machine.
Interchange- Interchange for the purposes of the independent operator is normally an additional amount of revenue or income which is derived from the additional foreign bank fee which accompany all ATM transactions
ISO- Independent Sales Organization- These are the companies who can handle your transactions and link you up to a processor. There are over 200 ISOs in the ATM industry today
Master Keys– Master Keys, Comvelopes or Encryption keys are an extra layer of security on each terminal and unique are to that terminal
Monthly Net- For independent operators their ‘net’ is normally their surcharge revenue plus interchange income, less merchant commissions.
Processor- The Processor is the ATM organization linking the bank account of the customer through the ATM to your bank account. There are several ATM processors in the US including Columbus Data, RBS Worldpay, Switch Commerce, FIS
Spec Sheets– Here are spec sheets with dimensions and specs on the Genmega 2500; Hantle 1700 and Hyosung Halo. Spec sheets on any other make/model you would be installing can be easily found online or I can provide for you if needed.
Surcharge– This is the fee you set as the owner of the ATM Machine, typically also called the Convenience fee
Terminal ID– This is the unique code the Processor and or ISO assigns to your terminals
Turnkey ATM– This is an ATM where the vault cash and service is provided already and there are no service requirements necessary
Vault Cash– This is the cash or capital in the ATM itself. There are 3rd part vault cash companies which can service ATMs.
Most new ATMs come with a 1 year warranty on parts and most repairs on ATMs can be handled easily with minimal knowledge of ATM repair and technology skills. Data on related repair breakdowns are not readily accessible as far as I am aware although I am working on gaining more knowledge in this area.
Here is a general layout of the parts on an ATM
Shell- The exterior of the ATM, can be purchased without the dispenser.
Topper- Adds potential advertising space for the ATM, a topper upgrade is around $50-$100 on a new machine
Safe- Safe and safe door where vault cash is contained
Lock- There are 3 main lock types, Dial Lock (standard) Electronic Lock ($50 upgrade), Audit Lock- one time use Armor truck ready ($300-$400 upgrade)
Dispenser- This is the area where cash is stored and dispensed. The most expensive part to replace and is typically repaired rather than replaced. Standard issue is fixed cassette. A 1000 note removable cassette normally adds $50-$100 depending on the retailer. New single cassette dispensers run around $800-$1000
Cassette- 1000 note removable is typical issue although 1700 not cassettes, dual cassettes and more are available. A removable cassette is normally a $50 upgrade on a new machine. Spare 1000 note cassettes run around $400
Screen- The exterior screen for customer use, can be touch or just visual screen, most screen replacements run $200-$300.
Main-board- Most main board with modem are $650-$700 replacement
Card Reader- EMV is new and latest standard. Most ATMs built in the last 5 years can be upgraded to EMV fairly easily and with relatively low expense ($275-$400)
Modem board- Usually located on main board although can be separate, run around $125
Printer- A printer assembly runs around $600-$700
Keypad- typically a $400-$500 part for newer ATMs
Wireless- Many options exist for wireless devices and these typically run around $15-$20 per month for a lease or $250 to purchase the box and $5 per month for the connection to the wireless provider.
Total number of ATMs in the US- 425,000 (source-National ATM Council)
Independently owned ATMs deployed- 222,000 (source-National ATM Council)
Average ATM fee/Convenience fee- $3.00 (source-National ATM Council)
Average commission payment-$.50-$1.00 (based on my analysis of 100+ portfolios and 10,000+ locations)
Average interchange net income-$.10-.20 (based on my analysis of 100+ portfolios and 10,000+ locations)
ATM Frequently asked questions.
For initial basic information, please see my FAQ page
ATM Sales and equipment
Costs for new machine:
Entry level $2000-$2500
Higher end machine with multiple cassettes and dispensers can run anywhere from $3000-$6000+
Most ATMs come with a 2-year limited manufacturer warranty, so you should understand the age of each machine in the business you are looking to purchase.
There are 3 main manufacturers of independently deployed ATMs in the US
These manufacturers and sell you machines at cost
Hyosung– http://www.nhatm.com, Manf in S. Korea, largest seller of retail ATMs in the US
Genmega- http://www.genmega.com, Manf in S. Korea, 2nd largest seller of Retail ATMs
Triton– https://www.tritonatm.com, made in the US, typically around $200 more espensive than Genmega or Hyosung
Most Popular Models
Links to commonly deployed ATM spec sheets:
Here are some basic things you will want when looking at ATM businesses to buy in regard to equipment:
1k Removable Cassette-This is a 1000 note removable cassette which allows you to either buy an extra cassette and swap cassettes when vaulting machines or remove cassette and add cash in a private or more secure location.
Electronic Lock- the locks for the safe come standard with a dial lock and most operators upgrade to the e-lock for an additional $50. Audit Lock (single use Armor truck requirement) can add $300-$400 to the lock cost
EMV (Europay, master card, Visa- see glossary for more) ready– Most ATMs are now EMV upgraded, this standard started rolling out in 2016-17
You should attempt to select a manufacturer and stick with it if building portfolio. This will enable you to streamline your knowledge and order parts more easily and eventually have spare parts on hand.