How much money do ATMs hold

How much money do ATMs hold?

Today we’re dedicated to quenching your curiosity about all things ATM! The funny thing is, we all use ATMs or Automatic Teller Machines often, and yet know little about them.  Where do you get one?  How much do they cost?  How much money can they make?  …And most importantly, how much money do ATMs hold?  (On average, about $280,000, but we’ll get more into that later!)

Anyways, we can’t wait to cover all of that and more in today’s article.  So, let’s get started!

How much money do ATMs hold, anyway?

As with many questions in life, the answer to “how much money do ATMs hold” is not simple or straightforward.  In fact, there are a lot of factors to consider when trying to calculate this number.

For instance, what type of ATM is it?  Is it holding newer bills, which are more compressed, or older bills, which take up more space?  How many cash cassettes, or money bill holders, does the interior of the machine have? And what types of bills are being loaded into the ATM?  i.e. $20 bills, $50 bills, etc.

But, in an attempt to give you a concrete answer… Let’s walk you through how we got to our educated guess of $280,000 above.  

How much money do ATMs hold

As you probably already know, most ATMs only dispense $20 or $50 bills.  This is because the typical ATM has four cash cassettes.  And usually, two are dedicated to holding $20 bills, and two are for $50 bills.  (Although of course, this is not a hard and fast rule.  The person responsible for stocking the ATM chooses the types of bills that are carried.)

Nevertheless, assuming you have a typical ATM setup, each of the four cash cassettes can hold 2000 crisp banknotes.  (Notice how we said “crisp,” meaning that if the bank notes are older, less than 2000 will fit.)

Therefore, that’s how we got to our $280,000 estimation for when an ATM is fully stocked.  Or, more specifically: 4,000 $20 bills, and 4,000 $50 bills.  

Again, this answer to “How much money do ATMs hold?” Shouldn’t necessarily be quoted since every ATM and ATM owner differs… But it’s a pretty good estimation.

FAQs about How much money do ATMs hold

How do ATMs make money?

Aside from wondering how much money do ATMS hold, you might also be wondering how do they make money?  Why do banks and store owners opt to install these in their places of business?  How does it benefit them?  Below you can find a list of ways ATM owners profit from these convenient telling machines.

Surcharge Fees

This is a fee paid by the customer (aka you, the person withdrawing money) for utilizing the ATM.  Typically, this costs you an additional $2 or $3 on top of the money you’re withdrawing. 

And yes, you guessed it, the ATM owner receives this surcharge fee for every transaction.  However, ATMs without surcharge fees do exist.  To find one, simply type into Google “free ATM near me” as opposed to “closest ATM to me.”

Interchange Charges

This is a fee paid from your bank to the bank that is responsible for that ATM.  The cost is about .25 cents per transaction and benefits the ATM’s bank, not necessarily the ATM’s owner.

Running Ads on the ATM

Sometimes, either on the home screen or on an additional screen installed above the main screen, ATM owners can make money by charging other companies to run ads.

Reduces Credit Card Processing Fees

For many small businesses, the cost of running credit cards loses them a significant amount of money.  Therefore, it’s more profitable for some businesses to refuse credit cards and install an ATM to encourage cash-only payments. 

This not only saves them the 2-3% credit card transaction fee, but it also steers more business to their ATM.  And more transactions on their ATM means more surcharge fees in their pocket.

Press Releases

Upon purchasing an ATM, some companies, such as ATM Depot, will send a press release about it to locals.  This way they know that a new ATM has been installed nearby and where to find it.  This can drive additional customer traffic as awareness is built around the new ATM that’s now open for business!

How do ATM Owners Get Paid

ATM owners fill out a “payee form” where they indicate who receives how much money per transaction.  For instance, the bank that represents the ATM might agree to take .50 cents per transaction.  And you, as the store and ATM owner might receive the remaining $2.50 of the ATMs $3 surcharge fee.  

On the payee form, like a payroll form, you fill out your desired form of payment for collecting the fees.  I.e. cheque, direct deposit, etc.  Typically, ATM profits are paid out on a daily basis.

Buying an ATM Machine

Just like a car you can buy an ATM new or used, or even rent or lease one.  If you choose to purchase one, we certainly recommend ensuring there’s a warranty attached, as ATMs are complicated machines.  

Additionally, if you plan on owning a machine, keep in mind extra costs such as maintenance and restocking bills.  These are additional services that you’ll either have to train yourself to do, or hire out.

If you choose to rent an ATM, it’s common for these services to be included in your contract terms.

Typically, an ATM costs anywhere between $2,000 and $8,000, depending on how new the model is.  Rental contracts on the other hand can cost anywhere from $50 – $250 per month.

Types of ATM Machines

As you might imagine, considering the number of technology companies and advancements, there are LOTS of ATMs to choose from. But, for the purposes of keeping this article brief, we’ll just list the basic types.  

White Label ATMs – Not owned or operated by a bank.

Brown Label ATMs – Maintained and owned by an ATM service provider, but sponsored by a bank.  The bank is also responsible for the cash inside.

Onsite ATMs – Located within a bank branch and managed by that branch.

Offsite ATMs – Located outside of a bank branch i.e. in a restaurant or store.

Standalone ATM – Not connected to an ATM network, limiting the customers they serve to certain bank branches.

Network ATMs – The opposite of a standalone ATM.  An ATM connected to a network that can be used by anyone, no matter their bank affiliation.

Online ATMs – Connected to a bank by internet, giving you real time transaction and account information.

Offline ATMs – Less high-tech than online ATMs.  They have a predetermined transaction limit.

Cardless ATMs – Although they look the same as a standard ATM, cardless ATMs use your phone to access your card.  This means you don’t have to insert your card to retrieve money – a definite plus in 2020.  To find one simply do a Google search for “cardless ATM near me.”

Costs of Owning an ATM Machine

Just as the answer to “How much money do ATMs hold” wasn’t straight forward, this one isn’t either.  Partly because business owners may opt to buy or rent an ATM, which obviously affects the costs.

However, regardless of if you’re buying an ATM, or renting/leasing monthly, here are other costs to keep in mind:

Initial Installation and Training Fees – One Time Fee – Between $50 and $500

ATM Specific Phone Line – $20-$40 monthly

Statement Fees – About $30 Monthly

Restocking Receipt Paper – About $50 Monthly

Professional Cash Loading Service – About $50 per Service (Maybe needed multiple times per month, depending on ATM traffic.)

Is an ATM Business Worth it?

Like any other business, to see if starting an ATM business is worth it, you have to do some research.  First, consider the costs above.  Then, figure out how much money your ATM needs to profit each month to break even.  (Figure around $300 per month to keep the machine up, running, and stocked.)

Now, you’ll need to research some locations near you that make sense for installing an ATM.  Such as bars and gas stations.  How many people seem to be coming in and out of those locations each day?  Does the owner of the establishment seem open to having an ATM?

Keep in mind that the average ATM processes about 180 transactions per month.  Now multiply that by $3 you could make for each transaction.  That’s $540 per month, before paying for your monthly fees.

So, in short, could buying ATMs, installing them in busy businesses, and collecting surcharge fees be a good source of passive income?  Absolutely!  You’ll just also have to stay on top of monthly maintenance and fees.

And, if crunching business numbers such as this is something you enjoy, then we suggest you look into taking some entrepreneurial or finance courses.  Because you can never have too much financial knowledge!

The Bottomline

We hope this article quenched your curiosity for all things ATM- beyond how much money do ATMs hold?  Perhaps we even sparked your interest in starting an ATM business along the way too!  Aka: One of the best passive income side-hustles out there!

So, what did you find most interesting about today’s article?  Got any other finance questions that have been keeping you up at night?  Let us know in the comments below!  Because just like EveryDimeMatters, every financial question matters too!

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