How to start an ATM business

How do you start an ATM business?

To start an ATM business, you will need:

  1. Research the ATM industry and create a business plan.
  2. Register your business and obtain necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
  3. Buy quality machines.
  4. Install your machines in well-trafficked areas.
  5. Monitor and restock your machines.
  6. Maintain a good relationship with the location owners.

Imagine starting an ATM business that continues to pay you. You set your ATMs in high-traffic locations and check on them once per week.

Luckily, I will show you what you’ll need to be one of the many successful ATM owners. I’ll show you how much it costs, where to get your own automated teller machine, and how much you can make.

Key Takeaways:

  • To start an ATM business, you will need ATMs, startup funds, licensing to make your business legit, permits to secure locations, insurance, and other miscellaneous paperwork for opening bank accounts and IRS tax ID.
  • It is estimated that you should have at least $10,000 to start your ATM business. The cost depends on how many and the type of machines, permits and licenses, and the amount of insurance coverage you need.
  • An ATM can generate between $500 and $750 per month. A typical ATM costs around $3,000. A single machine produces a great profit margin!
  • You can buy used or new ATMs, but it is better to buy new ones. New ATMs often come with warranties and have the latest technology. Used ATMs will cost you more money in the long term.
  • Finding the right location for your ATM is all about high traffic areas where there is a significant amount of money being exchanged. Think nightclubs, retail locations, and shopping centers.

TFF22-103 - How to start an ATM business

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What You’ll Need to Start an ATM Business

Starting an ATM business can be challenging, as the industry has significant competition. ATM businesses must have a strong understanding of the ATM market and be able to offer competitive prices and services to succeed. In addition, ATM businesses must be able to install, maintain, and service ATMs professionally and promptly.

To succeed in business, entrepreneurs must first:

  1. Invest in quality products
  2. Build strong relationships with their clients
  3. Always be willing to adapt to change

Quality Products

Successful ATM businesses stand out from their competition by investing in higher quality, more advanced equipment that meets their customers’ needs and utilizes the latest technologies.

There are other factors to consider when choosing which type of ATM to invest in. Factors include the intended location of the machine and the type of customers that will be using it.

You should also consider each ATMs security features when looking at different types of ATMs. You want to protect your equipment, money, and your customer to limit your personal liability. Consider investing in high quality security cameras, even if placing your machine in a safe area.

It’s important to carefully consider your options before making a purchase.

Additionally, business owners must have a good understanding of the ATM market and offer competitive prices for their machines.

Consider which type of machines you’re willing to invest in:

Online vs. Offline ATMS

Offline ATMs are not connected to the internet and can only be used to dispense cash. Online ATMs are connected to the internet and offer various services in addition to dispensing cash, such as the ability to check account balances and transfer funds. They are more expensive but often attract more business than offline options.

One-Way vs. Two-Way ATMS

One-way ATMs can only dispense cash, while two-way ATMs can also accept deposits. You can increase your business’s revenue by charging additional fees for these transactions.

Standalone ATMs

These are ATMs that are not connected to a bank or credit union and are typically found in high-traffic areas, such as malls, airports, and nightclubs.

Business Licenses, Permits, and Paperwork

Before you can start your ATM business, you’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance to guarantee that your business is in line with government financial regulations:

Federal, State, and Local Licensing

You will need to apply for a federal money transmitter license through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and any relevant state licenses, such as a Self-Service Financial Kiosk License.

Depending on the state where your business will operate, you may also need to obtain a local business license.


To install an ATM on private property, you must obtain a permit from the property owner. If you plan on placing your ATM in a public space, such as a sidewalk or park, you will need to obtain a permit from the local government.


To open a bank account for your business, you must provide the bank with your business license and permit information. You must also register your business with the IRS to obtain a federal tax ID number.


It’s important to have liability insurance to protect your business in case of damages to the ATM or customer injuries. It would be best if you spoke with an insurance agent to determine the best coverage for your business.

A Business Structure and Relevant Connections

Once you clearly understand the ATM industry and the necessary steps to start your business, you can begin to develop a business plan.

Your business plan should include:

  1. Your business’s goals
  2. Marketing strategy
  3. Financial plan
  4. Information about your target market

Networking with professionals already working in the industry can help with the following:

Developing a Business Structure

Will you be operating as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation? It’s important to choose the business structure that best suits your needs.

Working with Banks and Credit Unions

You will need to establish relationships with banks and credit unions to place your ATMs in their branches and have them act as the financial institution behind your machines.

Find an ATM Processor

You will need a reputable ATM processor to provide you with the software and hardware required to operate your machines. ATM processors will also help you to find the best locations for your ATMs and to negotiate contracts with property owners.

Cost to Start an ATM Business

The startup costs of opening an ATM business can vary depending on:

  1. Type of machines you purchase
  2. Number of machines you plan to install
  3. Cost of permits and licenses
  4. Amount of insurance coverage

However, you can expect to spend a minimum of $10,000 to get your business up and running.

You will also have to market your ATM business to potential customers and property owners. You can use various free marketing strategies to reach your target markets, such as:

  • Online advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Print advertising

Also, consider exhibiting at trade shows and conventions related to the ATM industry.

Additionally, if you’re interested in starting an ATM business but don’t have the time or resources to do so from scratch, consider purchasing an existing ATM business. This is a good option for those who want to be their own boss but want to avoid the hassle of starting a business from scratch.

However, when considering whether to buy an existing ATM business, carefully review the company’s financial statements, contracts, and customer list to ensure that the business is a good fit for you and your financial goals.

How to Start an ATM Business

A successful ATM business can produce thousands of dollars of passive income every month, but to maximize your earnings, you’ll first have to put in the hard work to get your business off the ground.

Here are the steps you need to take to start an ATM business:

Research the ATM industry and create a business plan

Your plan should include a clear budget with cash flow estimates, an analysis of your biggest competitors, an overview of your marketing strategy, and a roadmap to installing and launching the business.

Register your business and obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance

Although federal regulations are standardized across the nation, each state and local government sets its own licensing requirements. Be sure to speak with a legal representative before launching your business.

Purchase high-quality machines and equipment from a reputable ATM manufacturer

It’s always best to invest in new equipment rather than used machines to benefit from a free 2-year warranty and the latest technology.

Install your machines in high-traffic locations

More foot traffic will lead to more use of your ATMs. The ideal location for your machine will be in a high traffic area where money is frequently exchanged, such as shopping malls or nightclubs. You should also consider marketing your business to potential customers.

Monitor your machines regularly

Monitoring is required to ensure they are functioning properly, and restock them as needed. If your ATM is located within a store or local business, stay in contact with the business owner to maintain a healthy relationship and ensure that everything works as it should.

Resolve any customer complaints

Repeat business is important for your business. Failure to resolve complaints will result in losing customers. Therefore, it’s essential you resolve customer complaints in a timely and professional manner if issues arise.

It would be a good idea to have a dedicated phone line for your ATM company. You can then list your business name and phone number on the ATM equipment for customer support. You can also create business cards to give to small business owners so they can reach you for any issues about your machine.

Maintain a positive relationship with the banks and credit unions you work with. After all, they will become your primary source of income.

Adapt your business as the ATM industry changes 

At the end of the day, an ATM is a piece of technology. Machines will become outdated, start to run slow, or the market is going to change. It’s important to keep up with the ATM industry and evolve with the latest technologies.

For example, there are now cryptocurrency ATMs with the increase in adoption of cryptocurrency. These weren’t around back in 2,000. If your ATM market is wanting Crypto ATMs, then it’s up to you to stay current.

Finding Automated Telling Machines for Your Business

There are a few ways to find the automated teller machines you’ll need to launch your business. You can purchase them outright—either new or used—or lease them from a manufacturer. The option you choose will be based on several factors, including:

  • Your budget
  • The number of machines you need
  • Your intended use for the machines

Purchasing ATMs outright

You may want to purchase your machines outright if you’re starting a new business or expanding an existing one. This option allows you to take advantage of bulk discounts and keep your costs low in the long run.

However, it’s important to note that ATMs are a significant investment, and you will need the financial resources to support this upfront cost.

Leasing ATMs

Leasing is a smart choice if you lack the capital to purchase your machines outright. When you lease an ATM, you’re only responsible for the rental costs, and you can often get the machine delivered and installed for free.

However, you will be required to sign a long-term contract and may be charged additional fees for maintenance and repairs.

Purchasing used ATMs

Some business owners choose to cut costs by purchasing used machines, but we recommend against this option.

Most ATMs have a 100% guaranteed 2-year warranty to help cover repair costs. If you purchase a used machine, you’ll miss out on these perks and spend more on repairs than you would on a new machine.

Finding the Best Locations for Your ATMs

A good location for your ATMs is somewhere that is easily accessible and have a high volume of foot traffic. Placing your machines in high-traffic areas can help you generate more revenue. However, you will need to obtain the necessary permits from the property owners before installing your machines.

The best high foot traffic areas include:

  • Malls
  • Shopping centers
  • Airports
  • Nightclubs
  • Convenience stores
  • Retail stores

These are all a suitable location to place a brand new ATM.

Having a lot of foot traffic isn’t the only thing to consider when placing your first ATM machine. Do you notice something that all the locations have in common?

Each of the ATM locations has foot traffic, but they also are a retail location with significant exchanging of money!

Once you’ve found your ideal location:

  • Speak with the location owner and highlight how an added ATM can attract new customers to their location
  • Most businesses will ask for a commission, usually around 25% to 30% of each transaction fee
  • Sign all relevant business permits, per your local and state financial regulations

Some business owners install machines in less obvious locations, such as office buildings and apartment complexes. While these locations may not generate as much revenue as high-traffic areas, they can still be profitable and are often safer than more open public venues.

Nevertheless, you should always install CCTV cameras that stream to an offsite data center to protect your investments.

It’s also important to note that the placement of your ATM can also impact the type of machine you purchase.

For example, suppose you plan on placing your machine in a high-traffic area. In that case, consider investing in an online ATM so you can offer additional services, such as the ability to check account balances and transfer funds.

Running the ATM Business and Scaling

Properly maintaining your ATM business is crucial to its success, but the day-to-day operations are relatively simple. You will need to regularly monitor your machines to ensure they are functioning correctly and restock them as needed.

Restocking ATMs

We recommend restocking each machine with at least $1,500-$3,000 per week in varying denominations. Having too much cash in your machine is risky and wastes your resources. Having too little money runs the risk of your machine running out or requiring you to frequently restock.

If your machines hold more than $3,000, remove the excess cash and deposit it into your business account.

Don’t forget, certain ATMs will also have receipt paper that needs to be restocked.

Selecting an ATM Fee

Set a standard surcharge across your machines to help balance your books. A surcharge fee is a small fee you’ll charge to customers for using your ATM services. These ATM fees are small, typically between $1.5-$3.5.

Repair and Maintenance of ATMs

It would help if you also had a plan for when something goes wrong. Whether it’s a mechanical issue with the machine or a customer complaint, you need to be prepared to resolve the issue promptly and professionally.

If you have multiple machines, we recommend assigning each machine to a specific employee and having that employee responsible for checking on the machine every week.

This will help ensure that each machine is maintained correctly and help you resolve any issues that may arise. As your business grows, you may need additional staff to help with machine maintenance and repairs.

ATM Inventory Management

It would help if you also considered investing in an inventory management system to help you keep track of your machines and their locations. You can use software or create your own Google Sheet to help manage your business.

Scaling your ATM business

When scaling your business, it’s important to maintain the quality of your products and services. Otherwise, you risk damaging your reputation and losing customers.

We recommend starting with a smaller number of machines and gradually expanding as you gain more experience. This will help you to fine-tune your operations and ensure that each machine is properly maintained before adding more machines to your fleet.

As you scale, you may need to hire people to work as ATM operators to restock and maintain your equipment.

ATM Business Pros and Cons

As digital payments have become more common over the past couple of decades, many entrepreneurs have wondered whether the ATM business is dying or whether it’s a good idea. As with any business, it does come with its pros and cons:


  • ATMs are a relatively simple business to run with a low barrier to entry
  • There is a wide range of ATMs available to meet the needs of any business
  • ATMs can be a source of passive income, which makes it worth it
  • You can place your machines in high-traffic locations to generate more revenue


  • The ATM industry is highly competitive
  • You will need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits before starting your business
  • You will need to have the financial resources to purchase or lease your machines
  • You will need to monitor your machines regularly and restock them as needed

Is an ATM Business Profitable?

ATM businesses can be highly profitable, but, like any business, your success will depend on many factors, such as:

  • The type of machines you purchase
  • Number of machines you install
  • Locations of your machines
  • Fees you charge for transactions
  • The number of employee salaries you have to pay out

Typically, most ATM business owners earn an average monthly profit between $500 and $750 per machine.

Considering each machine costs around $3000, you can earn a substantial return on investment within less than half a year. Of course, it helps to position your machines in high-traffic businesses, such as gas stations and shopping malls, to increase your revenue.

Summary: Starting an ATM business

As you can see, having your own ATM business can be challenging. However, an ATM business requires you to check in at least once weekly once you have locations secured.

To start an ATM business, you will need:

  1. Research the ATM industry and create a business plan.
  2. Register your business and obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
  3. Buy quality machines.
  4. Install your machines in well-trafficked areas.
  5. Monitor and restock your machines.
  6. Maintain a good relationship with the location owners.

There are three ways to get ATMs for your business:

  • New
  • Used
  • Leased

New machines are the best for beginners as they’ll last longer, come with a warranty, and have the latest technology. If you’re strapped for cash, consider leasing your machines, and you won’t be responsible for repairs. Used machines will likely cost you more long-term than buying new ones.

It would help if you planned to restock your ATMs with $1,500 to $3,000 per week.

ATM businesses are easy to start, but there is a lot of competition. ATMs can be a source of semi-passive income, but it does take a lot of capital and paperwork to start.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.