How Much Does an ATM Machine Cost?

Last Updated on March 4, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If you’ve ever thought about getting into the ATM business, you’re not alone. With over 3 million ATM machines installed worldwide, ATM ownership can be an attractive investment opportunity.

However, like any business venture, there are substantial costs and risks involved that require careful evaluation. This comprehensive article provides an in-depth look at the major financial considerations of owning and operating ATM machines to help you determine if it’s the right investment for you.

How Much Does an ATM Machine Cost?

The first major cost of ATM ownership is the upfront purchase of the machine itself. New ATM models range greatly in price from approximately $2,000 to $4,000 for a basic cash dispenser model. More advanced machines with additional features like check scanning, bill payment, or video banking can cost $10,000 or more.

You’ll also need to account for shipping fees and professional installation of the ATM, which typically adds $500 to $1,000 depending on location complexity. Some ATM manufacturers include installation in the purchase price. However, installation often involves separate labor fees from third-party servicers.

When budgeting installation expenses, factor in needs like wiring, ventilation, foundations, signage, lighting, and space reconfiguration at the ATM location. Complex installations like externally mounted or through-wall units often cost extra.

If buying multiple machines, purchasing in bulk can qualify you for discounts from the manufacturer. However, you may need to pay installation fees per ATM.

Leasing ATM equipment is also an option to spread out upfront costs over time. Leasing terms are typically 3-5 years. Monthly lease payments for basic cash dispenser models start at around $50. Leasing allows you to run newer machines with advanced capabilities while minimizing initial capital expenditures.

At ATM Depot, for example, ATM leasing rates can range from $55 to $95 per month, depending on the credit, length of business, ATM equipment type, and other options.
A 60-day deferred financing plan is available for qualified locations, allowing for three equipment payments.

If you need to rent an ATM machine for an event like a concert, Emerald ATM features the following prices for Outdoor Event ATM rental packages tailored to your needs:

  • 100 people or less: $200 per day
  • 100-500 people: $300 per day
  • 500-1000 people: $400 per day
  • Large Events (10,000-250,000 people): $500 per day

Ongoing Operating Costs

In addition to the initial purchase expense, operating an ATM comes with regular costs:

Cash Replenishment

  • Cash must be repeatedly reloaded into the ATM cassette to ensure adequate supply for transactions. This is handled by armored courier companies that charge for replenishment services.
  • Cash servicing fees include monthly base fees, often $100+ per ATM, plus per-service charges. One-time pickups or deliveries can cost $150+.
  • You may need to pay cash ordering fees and cash storage/reserve account fees. Ordering in bulk lowers per-unit costs.
  • Courier pickup frequency varies based on cash volume needs. High-traffic ATMs may require multiple weekly visits. More frequent service calls increase your monthly service costs.

Transaction Processing

  • ATM networks and processors charge fees to handle payment authorization and settlement for withdrawals. This fee is charged per transaction.
  • Transaction fees average $0.25 to $1.00 per withdrawal. Lower rates may be negotiated for high-volume machines.
  • Monthly minimums, payment gateway fees, and other processing costs may also apply. Carefully review processor contracts.

ATM Maintenance

  • Ongoing ATM maintenance and repairs are needed to sustain normal operation. This includes tasks like replacing printer paper and updating software.
  • Standard maintenance plans cost $150 to $200 per month per ATM. This covers preventative maintenance visits every 4-8 weeks.
  • Repair costs for jams, malfunctions, or vandalism often fall outside of maintenance plans and incur additional fees.

ATM Site Costs

  • If locating your ATM at an existing retail business, plan to pay monthly rental fees which are typically percentage-based. High-traffic sites like supermarkets may charge 10-20% of the machine’s revenue.
  • For ATMs installed at your own business location, factor in utility costs for powering the machine.

Security Measures

  • Well-lit, highly visible locations with existing security infrastructure are ideal. Avoid poorly monitored sites.
  • Security upgrades like surveillance cameras ($200+ each), exterior lighting ($100+), and audible alarms ($50+) help deter theft and vandalism.
  • Anti-skimming and anti-fraud devices can cost $500+ per ATM.
  • Plan for $1,000 to $2,500 in upfront security investments depending on location risks. Ongoing monitoring fees may also apply.

Compliance Costs

  • Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance requires robust data security measures including encryption. Expect 1-2 days of professional consulting time to get compliant, $1,000+ in fees.
  • Federal accessibility regulations may require updates like audio functions or screen reader compatibility for the visually impaired, budget $500+ per ATM.
  • Compliance with state and local signage or fee disclosure rules may necessitate decals or operating procedure changes. Plan accordingly.


  • Specialty ATM insurance protects against risks like theft, vandalism, and liability issues. Policies run $500 to $1,000 annually. Maximize coverage for high loss-risk locations.
  • Many ATM service providers include basic insurance plans but more robust protection is advisable. Review your options.

Revenue Potential from Fees

ATM operators generate revenue from convenience and other fees charged to ATM users for cash withdrawals and other transactions. Understanding the potential earnings from fees is crucial to projecting profitability.

Convenience Fees

  • The most common fee model is to charge ATM cardholders directly for withdrawals. These convenience fees typically average $2 to $3 per transaction.
  • Your bank sponsor will establish the maximum allowable fee ceiling, usually $3 to $5 for stand-alone ATMs.

Surcharge Fees

  • If located off-premises, you can charge surcharge fees when users withdraw cash from cards not associated with your host network. Surcharges normally run $1 to $3.
  • Be aware some states restrict or prohibit surcharges. Know the regulations in your area.

Also read our articles about the cost of renting an office trailer, sending money through Western Union, or coke freestyle machine.

Interchange Fees

  • These smaller per-transaction fees are paid by the payment card issuer, not the consumer. They average $0.25 to $1.00 per withdrawal.
  • Interchange fees are included in your processor charges. They provide a secondary revenue stream.

Account Fees

  • If your ATM accepts deposits or bill payments, each transaction generates an account fee, typically $0.50 to $2.00.
  • Additional services like check cashing or phone card sales can earn account fees too.

Other Earnings

  • Many ATM owners generate additional income through advertising screens and co-branding deals. This provides a lucrative side revenue stream.
  • Branding your ATMs with local promotions and offers is an easy way to capitalize.

Gross Revenue Potential

Potential annual revenue for a given ATM location can range widely:

  • Low-volume site (200 monthly transactions): $5,000 to $12,000
  • Moderate-volume location (500 monthly transactions): $15,000 to $30,000
  • High-traffic placement (1,500+ monthly transactions): $50,000+

Maximizing Profitability

The most lucrative ATM locations have high foot traffic and little competition nearby. Sites like shopping malls, convenience stores, entertainment venues, airports, hotels, and public events offer prime placement potential.

When evaluating potential sites, carefully analyze the demographics and traffic patterns. Avoid low visibility spots or places with limited operating hours. Try to secure exclusive ATM placement rights at chosen venues to maximize transaction volume.

Partnerships with local businesses can provide mutually beneficial arrangements. Offering a branded ATM to draw customers can merit negotiated rental terms or revenue sharing.

Regulations and Compliance

ATM operators must adhere to an array of legal and regulatory requirements:

ATM Security Standards

  • ATM crimes such as skimming and cash theft remain problematic. Robust physical safeguards and electronic security protocols are a must.
  • Access control, locking mechanisms, tamper-evident cash cassettes, and anti-skimming devices help deter fraud. Installation costs for comprehensive protection often total $2,500+.
  • Surveillance systems with high-resolution cameras, 24/7 recording, and remote monitoring provide essential oversight. This can cost $1,500+ for a multi-camera setup.
  • Armored courier pickup frequency should align with cash volume to minimize reserves. Regularly check for suspicious devices.

PCI Data Security Compliance

  • All systems and settings for processing and storing cardholder data must comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) requirements.
  • Data encryption, trusted anti-virus software, secure admin access, and network security protections like firewalls are necessities.
  • Unscheduled compliance audits occur. Penalties for noncompliance start at $50,000.

Federal ATM Regulations

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and requires accessibility features for those with disabilities.
  • ATMs must comply with technical requirements related to speech output, screen reader compatibility, display contrast, and keypad layout. Fines can exceed $75,000.
  • The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act regulates ATM fee disclosures to consumers. Be sure your ATM complies.

State and Local Laws

  • Many states restrict maximum ATM surcharge amounts to $2 to $3. Others prohibit them entirely. Know your regional surcharge rules.
  • ATM labeling criteria like fee disclosure stickers, safety notifications, and operating instructions often apply. Violations can lead to fines.
  • Some areas mandate ATM registration and annual licensing. Research state and municipal regulations thoroughly.

Keeping Pace With Upgrades

ATM At PartyTo stay current and competitive, ongoing investment in ATM upgrades is often needed:

EMV Standards

  • Most ATMs now require upgrades to accept EMV “chip card” enabled debit and credit cards.
  • Chip card readers with the latest Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) standards cost $300 to $500 per ATM. Upgrade soon or risk declining transactions.

Contactless Payments

  • Contactless payment capabilities like tap-and-go mobile wallets will likely become standard at ATMs in coming years.
  • Contactless readers must be integrated during initial installation or as a retrofit. Budget $400 to $600 per ATM.

Anti-Skimming Security

  • New anti-skimming technologies like enhanced encryption, jamming devices, and upgraded card readers help protect against fraud.
  • Ongoing security upgrades easily cost $300+ per ATM over time. Schedule regular updates.

Feature Additions

  • Consider expanding built-in services via software upgrades or hardware add-ons:
    • Check scanning for instant cashing and depositing
    • QR code and mobile payment scanning
    • Video chat and interactive touchscreens
    • Cardless transactions via mobile apps
  • These conveniences will help keep your ATM utilized, budget $500 to $1,000+ per upgrade.

Additional Cost Considerations

Here are some other cost factors to keep in mind:

ATM Receipts and Paper

  • Ongoing printer paper, receipt stock, and ink expenses will apply. High-activity units may require weekly paper replacement.
  • Order quality thermal paper in bulk to save. Off-brand receipts jam more frequently.

Armored Courier Expenses

  • Fuel surcharges and extra fees for rush deliveries, missed appointments, or extended service hours can raise costs.
  • Request itemized rate schedules from providers. Fully understand the fee structure.

Merchant Account Fees

  • If accepting non-cash transactions like payments or check deposits, merchant services fees will apply.
  • These include account establishment charges, monthly fees, payment gateway costs, and chargeback handling expenses.

ATM Signage

  • Well-designed, illuminated signage is proven to increase ATM usage and profitability.
  • Professionally fabricated signs cost $500+. Don’t skimp on quality graphics and materials.

Financial Forecasting for Profitability

Careful financial forecasting is crucial before investing in ATM ownership. Be extremely conservative in your transaction volume estimates and cost projections.

Analyze a variety of potential sites and seek detailed quotes for all expenses. Create budgets for one-time startup costs, regular operating costs, and maintenance reserve funds.

Calculate your breakeven transaction volume – the minimum monthly transactions needed to generate a profit. This will help assess location viability.

Seeking expert advice from accountants and ATM industry professionals is highly recommended when evaluating potential returns on investment in ATMs.

Is ATM Ownership Right For You?

ATM ownership represents a major business investment, but with proper planning, research, and smart machine placement, ATMs can provide excellent passive income.

However, don’t underestimate the effort and capital required. Weigh costs versus profit potential carefully before acquiring ATM equipment.

If your analysis shows lucrative opportunities in your region, move forward cautiously by first placing machines in the most promising locations. This minimizes initial risk.

Use this article as a guide, but conduct extensive additional research. Consult legal, tax, and finance professionals to determine if owning ATMs aligns with your business goals and risk tolerance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is owning an ATM machine profitable?

Owning an ATM can be profitable, but profitability depends heavily on choosing optimal machine locations with high transaction volume. ATMs in low-traffic areas will struggle to generate adequate revenue to cover costs.

Careful research, conservative financial projections, and securing high-visibility sites is key to profitability. Don’t underestimate expenses when forecasting returns.

Can I just buy an ATM machine?

You cannot simply buy and install an ATM on your own. ATM operation involves partnerships with cash vault companies, armored couriers, payment processors, and ATM networks.

These entities handle cash logistics, transaction processing, and connectivity to bank networks. Most ATM providers offer turnkey programs encompassing equipment, maintenance, cash handling, and processing. Trying to operate ATMs solo is extremely complex.

Who puts money in ATM machines?

Cash is loaded into ATMs by armored courier services contracted by the ATM operator. The ATM operator pays cash vault companies to store cash reserves and transport it safely for replenishment.

Cash levels are monitored remotely via telemetry technology and replenished as needed based on transaction volume. Responsibility for cash loading lies with the courier company, not the ATM owner directly.

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