ATM Crime….What does this mean for you? Let’s explain a few things about the statistics first.

ATM Theft Statistics

Respondents to the 2016 ATM Industry Association annual fraud survey indicated that ATM crimes dropped from 51 percent in 2015 to 42 percent in 2016. The 9-percent drop is encouraging. Less fraud at ATMs lowers insurance claims (and insurance costs), saves staff time to investigate crimes and increases profitability of machines. Federal law enforcement officers can spend time on other criminal activity when ATM crime decreases.

Some ATM crimes don’t necessarily have solutions for high-tech intrusions. Some crimes occur when someone is robbed or burglarized, the perpetrator uses an ATM very quickly before the victim can call to cancel the card and then the criminal makes off with the person’s cash. This is where security cameras, including one embedded in the ATM, come into play.

ATMs are finely tuned, specialized machines that require occasional tweaking. Although the initial overhead for a machine, plus the cash to fill it, represents the highest costs for an individual machine, once a well-placed ATM regularly receives people withdrawing money your profitability happens quickly thanks to user fees. You can earn anywhere from $2 to $4 per transaction if you own the ATM yourself and stock it with cash using your own money. At 10 transactions with fees per day, that’s $20 to $40 in passive income. Over the span of a month, that’s $600 to $1,200. In a few months, the machine pays for itself.

Issues and ATM Challenges Moving Forward

Despite the drop in ATM crimes, there are issues facing the industry moving forward. Perpetrators use high-tech methods to infiltrate ATM systems, and there are many points of vulnerability to these machines. Criminals can skim and shim cards, compromise PINs, commit deposit fraud, reverse transactions, eavesdrop on transactions, upload malware to the machine and compromise the network connection. The very same high-tech tools that make your ATM profitable also make it more vulnerable to attacks.

Your ATM probably uses a wireless connection to speak to networks so it can receive accurate information. With the right tools, thieves can infiltrate wireless networks that have vulnerabilities. ATM jackpotting causes the machine to spit out more money than usual. Adding malware to the ATM can happen through the wireless network or even through smartphones with a card connected to them.

Solving ATM Crime Problems

Don’t let ATM crime wipe out your profits. You already have security protocols in place, and these must remain active for your insurance to cover any losses. Your insurance provider and the ATM Industry Association, should review the best practices for the security of your operation.

The ATM Industry Association provides more than 35 technical guides for preventing ATM Crime. Topics range from end-to-end encryption, stained bills, computer system updates, security for mobile device banking and preventing ATM skimming. There’s even a technical premise for explosive gas attacks that catastrophically dismantled an ATM’s hardware.

What You Can Do

The first thing you can do if you are concerned about ATM crimes is to become a member of the ATM Industry Association and download the technical manuals. There you find cybercrime prevention measures, hardware standards, minimum software requirements and best practices for reading credit or debit cards.

Secondly, find an ATM hardware company you trust. Make sure this company is also a member of the ATM Industry Association. The hardware company provides basic services such as providing additional machines, giving technical support when there’s a problem, helping your networking needs if you have more than one machines and going over the most reliable ATMs in the industry.

High-tech tools aren’t the only things you need to help prevent crimes against your ATMs. Develop a relationship with local law enforcement, because law enforcement officers are the first line of defense against locating a perpetrator. You should know who to call when you discover a crime committed against one of your machines, and you should also train employees and location owners on what to do if something happens.


The best ATM companies add value by giving you tips on how to increase your revenue, tell you how to save money on initial costs and stay with you after the sale. Free ATM Processing is a full-service ATM company that provides reliable machines, wireless modems and tech support for your ATM business. Trust us, with over 60 years of experience in the ATM industry, to fulfill your business needs from start to finish and everything in between as you take your passive income to profitability. We’re based in the Cleveland area, but we have a nationwide reach with our industry connections and contacts.