ATM FAQ

The amount of the surcharge is decided by the ATM Owner. However, we advise merchants to set the fee at one in which they will earn income while remaining competitive. One factor in the determination of the surcharge fee is the availability of ATMs in the vicinity. To encourage customers to remain in your establishment, merchants will want to be sure that the surcharge amount is not higher than another terminal in the immediate area lest the customer leave to access that terminal. With this being said, however, the type of establishment will largely determine the amount that is accepted by customers. Establishments with a “captive audience” are able to set their surcharges at a higher rate. As of October 2014 the average fee for using an out of network ATM climbed 5% the past year to a new high of $4.35 per transaction, according to Bankrate.com. Banks continue raising the surcharges on their ATM’s which helps the profitability of your ATM.

ATM Income is dependent upon the performance of the terminal. Performance is determined by many factors including the availability of funds in the terminal and number of customers at the location. Recommendations for high performing terminals include maintaining a fully cash loaded terminal at all times, ensuring the terminal is functioning properly, ensuring that there are no other cashback programs (such as providing cash from checks), ATM Signage, and more. Consult a Cornerstone Merchant Adviser for more information.

The big question! Clearly, highly trafficked locations can earn significant amounts of money. One thing that we want all potential entrepreneurs to realize is that the ATM business is competitive, and they should carefully assess what a realistic return on investment is reasonable for you. Consider the scenario below.

A person has $12,000 that he is interested in using for a business or investments. What are some choices that are available to him and what are reasonable rates of return:

Investment Risks Rates of return Value after 5 years
Bank account, money market account Almost no risk 3%-6% per year @3%: about $13900
@5%: about $15300
Stocks Risk of loss Long term: 7-8% per year @8%: about $17600
(3)ATMs Risk of loss Using the following assumptions:
Cash loading by ATM owner
$2.50 surcharge
$0.50 back to location per transactions
$18000- $42000

There are no hidden costs at Cornerstone Processing Solutions, Inc. (CPS). When CPS quotes a price, it will include processing, shipping, installation, training and telephone support. 

Leasing the cash can be costly. The charge for this service is anywhere from $80.00 – $250.00 to fill the machine every time your ATM needs money. This can drain your profits in a hurry. We encourage independent ATM owners or the location owner to stock their own machines. As an independent ATM owner, you will have a much lower break even cost than a bank may, so there will be many more lucrative locations available to work with. 

Yes. Electronic Benefit cards are accepted through QUEST and working for almost all state programs. 

The amount of cash that the cash loader loads into the ATM depends on the transaction volume. If the average withdrawal is $60 and the ATM conducts 750 transactions per month (25 per day) the ATM would dispense $1500 per day. Based on this information, the cash loader could load the ATM once per week with $10500 or $1500 per day or $4500 every three days. Cornerstone will help you determine what is best for your location. It is important to load a sufficient amount of cash to avoid emptying the ATM (and turning away customers or, if this occurs often enough, becoming known as an unreliable ATM) which may also have the effect of dispensing an incorrect amount of cash (less than requested), resulting in a customer dispute. 

If you are planning on having your ATM communicate with a phone line, the phone line must be a dedicated analog line that does not have voicemail or call waiting attached to it .  Digital lines are typically too fast for the ATM and while some transactions might work, communication errors will persist.  Since the ATM will be dialing out on a toll-free line, make sure your line allows for these calls. Internet lines may also be used as well as wireless unites available through Cornerstone.

Promptly call Cornerstone at 1-888-878-2615 to troubleshoot the problem! Allowing a terminal to sit non-functioning without service or worse, to function with an error  may create more complications and of course, means NO PROFIT! Tech support is available and we will help you determine the problem and take the necessary steps for a speedy solution. In most cases, the problem is minor and can be fixed over the phone. We understand it is imperative that your ATM remains operational at all times to ensure maximum transactions (and PROFIT!). We provide rapid ATM Service at the lowest available rates. If we are able to diagnose the problem via the telephone, we will offer to assist in resolving the problem telephonically as well. If a replacement part is required, we will offer to send the part to your location with directions for you to replace if possible  thus saving you the cost of the service call. We will also credit you for any defective parts you may return to us. We strive to maintain a low profit margin while ensuring the highest quality products and service. Contact our office at 1-888-878-2615 to address any service issues which may arise immediately. 

Your ATM will dial a toll free number to access the networks. Once communication is established, the ATM will access the customer’s account and debit the amount requested plus the surcharge fee. When authorization is received, it is communicated to the ATM, and the ATM will dispense the funds. The customer will receive their cash and a receipt. The customer’s money will be deposited into your checking account the within 48 hours. The surcharge fee will be either deposited monthly into your designated account, or a check will be mailed to you. 

We process with all credit and debit card networks: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Cirrus, Plus, NYCE, Pulse, Maestro, Discover, AFFN, Star, and Quest. Our network is also on-line for EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer). In short, all ATM, debit and credit cards are accepted at our ATMs. 

You will be able to monitor your ATM with access to a real time website. Transactions and cash balances are available immediately for all your machines. Alerts can be set to alert you to low cash balances, inactivity or customer disputes through email or text message. 

Encryption is the translation of data into a secret code. It is the most effective way to achieve data security. Information sent across a phone line during a transaction is encrypted, and the code is changed regularly to ensure integrity. 

It is the responsibility of the cardholder and the cardholder’s bank to ensure fraudulent cards are not used. Machines rely on a Personal Identification Number (PIN), and, as you know, it is up to the cardholder to keep their PIN a secret. The cardholder’s bank authorizes all transactions that are done at the ATM. 

No. Your ATM will have a swipe card reader or an EMV card reader. With a swipe reader the customer simply slides the card in the slot and removes it. The card never leaves the customer’s hands. With an EMV card reader the ATM will hold the customers card a few seconds until all of the data is properly transmitted and decoded. Your ATM cannot eat the customer’s card. 

By October 2016, all ATM’s accepting credit cards will be subjected to the new Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standards, which reflects a shift from the magnetic-stripe credit cards to chip-and-pin cards.  These new cards require the actual insertion of the card in the terminal the entire time of the transaction as opposed to the swipe and go form the magnetic-stripe credit card.  For your ATM to process EMV cards, you must have an EMV capable card reader and EMV software downloaded into your ATM.  If you’re not sure if you have either of these, please call our office at 1-888-878-2615 x 0 and we can assist in determining if your ATM is EMV ready.

The ATM is bolted to the floor from the inside with 4-inch concrete wedge bolts that can withstand 12000 lbs. of pressure. 

There are several security mechanisms in place to ensure your ATM dispenses the correct amount. The ATM must receive an authorization code from the cardholder’s bank prior to dispensing. The machine itself will have up to five sensors that each bill must pass through. Each ATM is balanced every time the money is loaded. Our processing system monitors your ATM to ensure transactions are being processed properly. Therefore any variances in dispensing are extremely rare.

UL291 is a rating for business hour safes (UL means Underwriters Laboratory) and is the standard for non-financial bank machines. The rating refers to how long the system has to withstand an attack and what type of tools may be used in the attack. The UL291 Level 1 rating indicates the machine complies with established electrical and safety standards. 

When a customer carries out a withdrawal transaction, the machine dials a toll-free number to a central transaction-processing computer. This processor adds the surcharge amount and obtains authorization from the cardholder’s financial institution. 

The withdrawal amount is deposited directly into your account. Typically this happens on the business day following the transaction. The surcharge amount is received monthly. It is either deposited into your account or a check is mailed to you. 

A surcharge can be levied against all transactions that are conducted against US based bank accounts. Some states do not allow surcharging to be applied to certain international MasterCard, Visa, Cirrus, or any other non-Interac Network cards. 

Your ATM will require thermal printer paper for receipts. Each roll lasts for approximately six months, but is dependent upon the number of transactions. 

You will need some training on the operation and balancing of your ATM. We provide training along with a very easy to follow quick reference card. The cost of training is included in the price of the ATM. Cornerstone makes every effort to provide the ATM Owner with the information necessary and education to maintain the terminal in good working condition. 

Cornerstone’s Service Department has a variety of plans available to meet your needs, starting as low as $23.95 per month or $.25 per transaction. 

Each new terminal is sold with a one-year parts warranty and three month service warranty. 

The ATM Owner is responsible for maintaining the terminal and purchasing parts and services after the warranty has expired. Cornerstone’s Service Department can provide both at the lowest prices available. We can provide detailed training for you as the ATM owner. We have many detailed guides to help you program and manage your ATM. 

If software upgrades are required, they are provided. Hardware upgrades can be quoted on a case-by-case basis. 

We cannot stress enough the importance of a high quality electric and telephone Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS) and Phone Line Surge Protector. Other important considerations are ensuring there are clean, dedicated phone and power lines; keeping the terminal filled with paper and used (but not torn or folded ) bills in the correct denomination.

Yes.  All ATMs can run TCP/IP (on the internet).  Newer models are already configured to run TCP/IP; while older models may need to purchase a converter box.  Using your internet instead of a phone line will not only make your transactions faster, but also can save you money by not having to pay monthly for a phone line.

If you are planning on having your ATM run via TCP/IP, the ATM must be connected with an Ethernet cable to your router.  At this time running wirelessly through Wi-Fi is not an option; however, your ATM can still run on a wireless device.  The wireless device uses a cell phone tower to connect instead of the internet.  Wireless is a great option if your business does not have an analog phone line or internet available.  Going wireless is secure, reliable and usually faster than a regular phone line connection.

If an ATM customer claims that the ATM did not dispense the requested/charged funds, please direct them to contact the toll free number on the back of their credit or debit card.  Please DO NOT issue cash from your till!  The standard procedure for any customer dispute – whether it is a dispute of a purchase or an ATM transaction – is for the customer to contact the card – issuing financial institution.  Protocol for this type of situation is generally for the financial institution to credit the customer for the dispute immediately, and then investigate.  As part of the investigative process, you (the merchant) will be contacted to provide information and evidence (usually the printed journal for your ATM) regarding the accuracy of the charge.  If the customer was charged in error, their credit will remain.  If not, their credit will be recharged.  If you do issue the customer a cash credit, it will be up to you to recover the funds if indeed the claim was false.  This does leave a merchant vulnerable to fraudulent disputes and loss of funds.  For your own protection, please do not issue the cash refund to the customer.