How Profitable is an ATM Machine?

by Jill Harness - Updated July 09, 2018
Young woman using ATM machine

Automated Teller Machines, commonly known as ATMs, are inexpensive money makers that allow you to earn passive income with little investment. While an investment in an ATM business is worth it for many people, if you're looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, owning ATM machines probably isn't the solution you're looking for.


  • The profitability of an ATM will vary greatly depending on its placement, but owners can earn up to $4,000 a year if the machine is regularly used.

Income From an ATM Business

The income from an ATM business will vary significantly and depends on where the machine is located. Ideally, you'll want to put the ATM where there is a lot of foot traffic and where people regularly need to use cash to make transactions. Popular placements include bars, cafes and stadiums. Experts believe that around 3- to-5 percent of people who see an ATM will use it, so if only 40 people pass a cash machine in a day, it would only attract two customers per day at most. On the other hand, if you put it on a busy street corner where 2,000 people walk by every day, you might attract up to 100 customers a day.

The average ATM surcharge is $2.90, although you can choose to set it to any amount. A higher surcharge may net you more per transaction, but it may also chase away potential customers, so it is important to strike a balance that will net you the most revenue over time.

Since ATM owners get to keep their surcharge fee, that means that an ATM machine located somewhere where 100 people pass by every day that charges $2.90 per transaction can earn $29 a day in fees using the 5 percent conversion. Multiply that by 30 and you'll see that it is possible to make up to $435 a month or $5,292.50 per year on that one machine. Owning multiple machines could be quite profitable.

Costs of an ATM Business

One of the benefits of owning an ATM is that it has few overhead expenses as it does not require employees or office space. However, there are costs associated with ATM ownership. The most obvious expense is the startup cost of buying the ATM itself. ATMs can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000, with the average model coming in at around $3,000. You can also lease an ATM for anywhere from $50 to $110, but since these leases often involve lengthy contracts, it is generally more profitable in the long-term to purchase the cash machine outright.

Each time a customer makes a cash withdrawal, the machine owner has to pay an ATM transaction processing fee to the company that processes the card, which is about $.40 per transaction, or $60 a month.

Additionally, ATM owners must pay for paper receipt rolls and repairs whenever necessary. Many people choose to insure their machines against physical damage and theft. Otherwise, these expenses come out of the ATM owner's pocket as well. Finally, owners often choose to use a company to stock the machine as it can be time-consuming, and potentially dangerous to load it yourself, depending on where the machine is located.

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Viability of an ATM Business

If you're hoping to buy an ATM and suddenly start raking in the dough, you're likely going to be disappointed, especially if you barely break even the first year after purchasing your cash machine. On the other hand, if you're a business owner looking to add a little extra to your bottom line, installing an ATM in your existing business could bring in a few thousand dollars extra every year.

About the Author

Jill Harness is a blogger with experience researching and writing on all types of subjects including business topics. She specializes in writing SEO content for private clients, particularly attorneys. You can find out more about Jill's experience and learn how to contact her through her website,

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