Where to Buy Abandoned ATM Machines – Locating Tips

Have you ever wondered if you could make money by buying and operating abandoned ATMs? Well, my friend, it’s entirely possible! Buying used and abandoned ATMs can be extremely lucrative if you know where to find them and how to get them up and running again.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from locating abandoned units to negotiating purchases, securing locations, handling installations, and ongoing maintenance. My goal is to equip you with actionable tips and strategies to start your own abandoned ATM business. Sound good? Then let’s get started!

Finding Reputable Suppliers of Used/Refurbished ATMs

Check Industry Listings

When searching for suppliers of used and refurbished ATMs, your best bet is to consult industry directories like the ATM Dealers Association. They maintain lists of reputable, certified resellers across North America.

You can quickly identify suppliers in your region, check ratings/reviews, and determine who offers the best pricing. On average, used ATMs should cost $1,200 – $1,800 compared to $2,300 – $3,000 for new units.

Verify Security Features

Any worthwhile supplier will refurbish used ATMs to “like new” condition before reselling them. However, you still need to verify specs. Check that units have upgraded electronic locks, removable cassettes, and audit trail printers.

Refurbished ATMs should also come equipped with security cameras, alarm systems, and the ability to bolt down to floors/walls. Don’t compromise on safety just to save a few bucks!

Assessing Age and Upgradeability of Units

You’ll typically find used ATMs that are 2-5 years old on the secondhand market. I don’t recommend buying anything over 7-10 years old as performance could suffer. Plus, you want units that are upgradeable.

Check for EMV Compliance Kits

For instance, used ATMs likely won’t support EMV “chip” card transactions out of the box. You need to check with manufacturers that EMV upgrade kits are available for the specific models you’re considering.

Be prepared to spend $275 – $400 per terminal to upgrade EMV capabilities. It’s a small price to pay given the advanced anti-fraud protections. All ATMs in North America must be EMV compliant by October 2022 due to changes in industry liability rules.

Calculate Total Costs

When comparing used ATMs, calculate total costs – not just upfront purchase expenses. Add in any missing security features, the price of EMV upgrades, and potential service fees. This gives you an accurate picture to determine whether refurbished units actually provide savings over brand new terminals.

With the right supplier, you can easily save 40-60% buying secondhand!

Negotiating Pricing and Purchase Terms

As with purchasing anything secondhand, there’s always room for negotiation with used ATMs. Don’t be afraid to press suppliers on pricing and purchase terms.

Buy Multiple Units for Volume Discounts

For starters, inquire about volume discounts if buying more than one machine. Most dealers offer 5-10% off for orders of 5+ units and 10-20% off for 10+ units.

You can also request bundling packages that include spare parts, paper rolls, signage, and accessories for complete “starter kits.”

Ask About Warranties and Returns

Make sure to confirm warranty terms as well. Typical refurbished ATMs come with 6-12 month repair coverage. See if dealers offer extended 2+ year plans for greater peace of mind.

And if issues do crop up shortly after purchase, what is the return/exchange policy? Reputable resellers will refund your money or swap out lemon units. Don’t get stuck with expensive paperweights!

Learning Site Selection Basics

Finding used ATMs is only step one. Securing lucrative locations to install them at is just as important for profits! But with thousands of potential placement spots, it can feel overwhelming deciding where to start. Just remember a few key tips:

Identify High Traffic Venues

Foot traffic directly translates to ATM usage and transactions. So you want venues that constantly have streams of people walking in like bars, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and corner stores.

Study patterns in your area. Observe the busiest destinations at various times of day. Make note of long lines or packed parking lots – those are prime ATM location candidates!

Outdoor events also draw big crowds. Put used ATMs near festivals, concerts, farmers markets, and street fairs to rack up tons of transactions from passersby.

Scout Captive Audience Businesses

Beyond raw foot traffic, certain businesses effectively “trap” patrons inside for long periods of time with limited external access. These captive audience venues make fantastic placement locations because people have need for an easily accessible ATM.

Some top examples include movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos, strip clubs, music halls, and adult entertainment stores. Patrons tend to carry cash and often make multiple small purchases during their visit. That quickly adds up to major profits on your end!

Finding Businesses With Broken/Outdated Machines

Rather than cold calling thousands of random establishments to place your used ATMs, take a more targeted approach. Focus on locations likely to already have terminals which are outdated or broken.

The business owners will be motivated to replace faulty units. You just need to persuade them that your upgraded refurbished ATM is the best solution!

Check State Liquor License Databases

Start your search by obtaining lists of liquor licenses issued in your target area. This provides names, addresses, and contacts for venues that serve alcohol like bars, restaurants, and clubs.

Cross reference these establishments in person or over the phone to check:

1) Do they currently have an ATM onsite?

2) Is the existing ATM operational and well-maintained?

3) How old is their ATM model? Is it EMV compliant?

4) Who owns the unit – the venue or a 3rd party operator?

Any place answering “no” to question #2 and #3 is a prime rezoning candidate for your used EMV compliant ATM!

Canvass High Density Merchant Districts

You can also efficiently scout clusters of retail shops and eateries in commercial districts. Walk or drive through local strip malls, business parks, and downtown areas keeping an eye out for:

  • Out of order/paper empty ATM signage
  • Older looking cash machines with faded screens or markings
  • Non-EMV compliant terminals

If you spot a potential target, make contact right away to pitch your upgraded refurbished unit. Have sales materials ready to leave behind too!

Call/Visit Businesses Directly

For a more systematic approach, develop lead lists by just cold calling or visiting bars, restaurants, hardware stores, liquor shops, and other cash centric vendors in your locale.

Try a basic script like:

“Hi, I’m an ATM provider offering modern terminals with the latest features and security. Do you currently have a machine onsite? Is it working properly and meeting your customers’ needs?”

Any indication of dissatisfaction with an existing unit opens the door to pitch your affordable upgraded device as a replacement.

Make sure to ask smart qualifying questions around foot traffic, transactions, and cash usage habits too. This helps you estimate potential revenue at each site.

Crafting Your Sales Pitch

As an independent ATM operator, mastering sales and negotiation is truly critical for profits. You need to persuasively convey benefits when pitching used units at various small businesses.

Here are some best practices for putting together effective sales presentations:

Highlight Tangible Benefits

Don’t get overly salesy or technical when making your case. Keep it simple and focus on real-world merchant benefits like:

“This upgraded ATM provides your customers access to cash for convenience and improves loyalty. You’ll see 23% higher average purchases from ATM users plus earn revenues from transaction fees.”

Paint a vivid picture of how the unit directly impacts their bottom line while fulfilling customer needs. Provide relevant examples and statistics to validate claims whenever possible.

Emphasize Enhanced Features

Especially when replacing outdated or broken ATMs, be sure to call out major feature differences such as:

“This refurbished ATM accepts EMV chip cards and contactless payments for 5X stronger fraud protection. The vivid touchscreen, customizable software, and remote monitoring also creates a smoother user experience for your patrons.”

Use layman terminology around improved security, flexibility, and management through updated terminal technology.

Professionally Address Operational Details

While focusing mainly on merchant benefits, also briefly touch on critical details around operations and maintenance expectations:

“Installation takes less than an hour with no impact on your business. My team handles cash loading, maintenance, upgrades and backs units with a 1 year warranty versus the 90 days offered by other providers.”

Being upfront builds credibility that you can actually deliver on the proposed ATM solution. It also gets ahead of potential merchant objections.

Negotiating Site Agreements

Once merchant interest is sparked, you need to negotiate a formal agreement granting access to install your used or refurbished ATM. This revenue sharing arrangement is mutually beneficial but does require finesse achieving acceptable terms.

Propose a Reasonable Split

Most merchants expect to receive around 30-50% of the ATM surcharge fee that gets charged to users per transaction. Thus for a $3 fee, they would get $1-1.50.

I suggest starting your offer here in the 40% ballpark. You can then negotiate downwards based on qualifiers like high traffic levels, captive audience, or cash only establishments.

Also build incentives around achieving monthly volume tiers such as:

  • 100+ transactions = 45%
  • 150+ transactions = 50%

This motivates alignment maximizing usage.

Account for Operational Costs

When determining actual placement fees, factor in your operational expenses such as cash loading, machine restocking, maintenance costs, and any upfront hardware investments.

Calculate the minimum cut needed to profit under different volume scenarios. Don’t give the farm away! If required merchant revenue share exceeds 60-70% at a location, you may want to reassess venue viability altogether.

Formalize in Writing

Once verbal agreement is reached around the revenue split, formally capture terms in a written contract covering access permissions, duration, conditions, and ongoing expectations.

You don’t need complex legalese. A basic 1-2 page document protects both parties should questions arise down the road.

Handling Logistics Like Power and Connectivity

While sealing a site placement deal feels great, the real work begins getting used ATMs physically installed and operational. Let’s review some key logistical considerations:

Source Basic Power Access

ATMs don’t require much juice – just a standard 110v wall outlet. But you may need to safely run an extension cord from an outlet across larger rooms.

Bring heavy duty cords, power strips, and tools to burrow lines neatly along edges the day of installation.

Tip: Taking pics beforehand allows easy returning-to of original configurations for cleanliness.

Enable Data Connectivity

Modern ATMs require connectivity to process transactions through cash networks and bank switches.

Ethernet cables linked to available routers or wall jacks provide the fastest hardwired connections. But have backup long cables and crimping tools in case you need to stretch from distant termination points.

Dial-up modems through landline phone circuits also enable connectively as a last resort. Verify dial tones using old school handset testers.

Cellular routers create WiFi hotspots if no landline options exist. Just confirm adequate coverage bars beforehand. Monthly service fees apply however.

Securely Anchor Units

Floor mounted self-standing used ATMs should be firmly bolted down to prevent external theft or tip overs. Be sure to carry a strong electric drill kit, heavy duty anchors, and wrench sets to handle the job right.

Select areas clear of door swings or thick cords crossovers that could trip users. Ask merchants if they have preferences balancing visibility with unobtrusiveness before drilling dozens of 1⁄2 inch holes!

Integrating ATMs onto Cash Processing Networks

So the electrical line runs to the outlet. The network cable connects to the router. And shiny bolts affix that used ATM firmly to the floor. Almost ready for cold hard cash!

Next comes the technical magic of linking terminals to cash distribution networks for authorizing and processing transactions.

Assigning Unique Terminal IDs

Each ATM requires a distinct Terminal ID setup under your merchant processing account for tracking funds. Processors overnight encryption keys matching freshly minted IDs.

Carefully activate new units by transferring assigned credentials into their software. Triple check digits when inputting 10+ character codes!

Configuring Cash Denominations

Based on placement venue and expected usage, determine the mix of $5, $10, $20 bills to load in cassettes. Gambling venues warrant more $20s while convenience stores favor $5s and $10s.

Set delivery counts within online portal menus. Then arrange initial seed cash infusions (or outsourced vaulting services if capital constraints exist).

Testing End-to-End Functionality

Moment of truth – give transaction processing a whirl! Swipe test cards to incrementally verify encodings, pin verifications, withdrawals, check scanning, and receipt printing flows operate smoothly.

Address any hiccups like warning codes or jammed dispensers before going officially live. Nothing frustrates fresh users like out of service notices!

Managing Ongoing Cash Flow and Vaulting

Empty envelopes don’t spit out magical money – ATMs need regular replenishing! Whether handling yourself or through cash providers, stay vigilant maintaining sufficient float levels to meet demand.

Here are helpful money management practices to avoid frustrating “This ATM Cannot Dispense Cash” experiences:

Monitoring Online Portals

All processors provide real-time web-based dashboards for tracking cash position, withdrawal trends and forecasting requirements. Pay close attention to this bible!

Set proactive reload reminders as balances decrement 20-30% to prevent completely running dry. Don’t let that fuel light turn red!

Scheduling Efficient Routing

Route schedules factoring in check processing float times, site hourly usage patterns, security, and convenience.

Night restocking works well for 24/7 establishments provided guards or cameras protect drop offs. Otherwise swing by early mornings or during off hours.

Optimize multi-site clusters together minimizing windshield time through thoughtful sequencing. Gas and hourly manpower add up quickly here.

Maintaining Backup Cash Reserves

Despite best efforts, ATMs inevitably and unexpectedly run out of money – especially before holiday weekends or special events.

Always keep $5-10k in standalone reserve as emergency infusion liquidity. The ability to instantly respond separating the pros from the fly-by-nights!

Troubleshooting Technical Issues

Despite your stellar state awareness and planning, used ATMs will inevitably suffer performance hiccups or full on meltdowns. Don’t panic! Just be mentally and physically prepared troubleshooting common problems:

Rebooting Sequence

Most minor glitches can be fixed through power cycling terminal components. Follow this sequence upon error codes:

1) Reboot main processor and screen

2) Reset communication modules/modems

3) Power down dispenser unit

4) Run full system diagnostic checking

If reboot fails, investigate specific origin points through sensory clues before replacing expensive parts!

Inspecting Physical Damage

Has anything looked physically damaged or tampered lately? Check for external cracks, leaks, foreign objects, or wear indicators on each subsystem.

Were doors left unlocked? Did recent service work fail to re-secure units? Assess overall integrity.

Testing Individual Components

Methodically validate that specific parts like motors, belts, sensors, loops, card swipes, dispensers, etc independently function as expected. Isolate the culprit!

Don’t rush swapping of entire mainboards or printers unless absolutely necessary.

Is the Weight of an ATM Machine a Factor to Consider When Locating Abandoned ATMs?

When locating abandoned ATMs, atm weight estimation is a crucial factor. The weight of an ATM machine can determine the level of effort needed to move it, making it either more or less attractive to potential thieves. This consideration should be taken into account when deciding on the best location for an ATM.

Upgrading Hardware and Software

Beyond resolving real-time performance issues, continuously upgrade used ATMs technology avoiding obsolescence pitfalls.

Install New EMV Readers

EMV chip card readers future proof units against fraud liability shifts in the industry. Most machines can add this hardware for $200-500 with minimal hassle.

Run feature enablement scripts injecting fresh data parameters into software for recognizing advanced card input capabilities.

Expand Dispensing Capacity

Max out cash holding ability by incorporating additional 1,000 note cassettes onto high volume machines.

Doubling raw storage not only extends time between reloads but allows satisfying bigger per transactions withdrawals.

Patch with Latest Firmware

Regularly check manufacturers sites for newer firmware containing critical security patches, exploit fixes, and performance tweaks.

While updating baseline software seems mundane, it greatly boosts functional lifetimes.


And there you have it – a comprehensive playbook covering all aspects of buying used and abandoned ATMs to profitably getting them up and running in optimal locations!

As you can see, while the ATM business requires some specialized knowledge around banking regulations, cash handling, and engineering – it’s completely viable for anyone to enter with the right instruction.

I sincerely hope you found the guide helpful demystifying key processes and empowering you to move forward. Wishing you nothing but success!

Now go forth and buy those abandoned ATMs! The world needs more convenient and affordable cash access. And you deserve to profit helping provide this invaluable community service!

Let me know if any questions pop up along your journey. Happy to provide more details or advice. For now though, get after it!