ATM Machine: Buy or Lease for Your Business?

Putting an ATM on the premises of your business – such as a gas station, restaurant, salon or in an office building – can be a convenience for your customers or passersby. It can also be very profitable. Depending on how visible the machine is, an ATM is likely to be accessed 15 to 30 times a month. For the owner of that machine, those transactions will generate revenue from the fees. That revenue can add up to as much as $20,000 and $30,000 per year – no small chunk of change.

Considering adding an ATM to your business? First, you need to decide if you would rather rent or buy the machine. There’s no absolute right answer to that question. It depends on various factors tied to your specific business. If you’re not sure which one – leasing or buying – is the better option, these five considerations will help you arrive at a clear decision. 

1. Upfront costs 

Leasing an ATM can cost less in the short term versus buying a machine new or used. The upfront cost for leasing can vary depending on models but may run from $75 to $100 per month. 

To buy a machine, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 for a basic, used model all the way up to $10,000 for a new one. The newer models are likely to come with some valuable enhancements, such as a large touchscreen display and accessibility functions for people with disabilities and hearing impairments. 

Note: If you are looking for an ATM that is installed into a wall, such models can cost $5,000 to $10,000 more. 

If you plan to keep an ATM on your business’s premises indefinitely, buying one upfront may be the better deal in the long run. However, if you’re uncertain how long you’ll need a machine, or if it will be worthwhile to your business’s bottom line over the next year or two, then leasing could work better as a proof of concept.

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2. Latest ATM models 

The look of an ATM can be important. An older or used ATM can give customers the impression that it is less secure and may even imply that there will be a higher fee. And an ATM with a small display that is not a touchscreen may come off as less safe and reliable than one with a bigger, full-color touchscreen. 

If the ATM retailer you’re leasing from offers a variety of models, leasing may give you the flexibility to put in an ATM that best matches your business’s premises. Plus, you may be able to upgrade to a better model in the future. 

3. Maintenance 

You can expect to be responsible for most of the maintenance yourself if you own your ATM, or you’ll have to pay someone to come out to fix it if something breaks. The retailer you bought the machine from may offer techs on staff or refer you to a contractor who can repair the ATM for a fee. A previously owned ATM that you buy may incur more maintenance costs. 

When you lease, most of the maintenance for the machine should be handled by the retailer you’re leasing it from. Be sure to scrutinize the maintenance provisions in the contract before signing it. 

4. Fee profits 

If you own your ATM, you get to keep a higher commission per transaction fee that’s charged to customers who withdraw cash from it. Plus, you could make additional money on an ATM that you own by running ads on its display. 

Under a lease plan, usually, the rent you pay is already calculated by the retailer to include a percentage of the service charge. 

5. Your type of business 

What type of business you run should be a factor in deciding if you want to rent or buy an ATM. For example, if it’s a bar or restaurant where many of your customers use cash, leasing an ATM could be a smarter choice. It will probably be used more and, thus, may require regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. 

If the machine will be sitting in the lobby of an office building that has light foot traffic, and the cash it dispenses isn’t going to be spent with your business, then buying will be the better investment.

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