Sean Farrell

By: Sean Farrell on March 5th, 2015

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Branch ATM Downtime: 10 Tips to Increase your ATM Uptime & Efficiency

Service | ATM

Increase ATM Uptime and Efficiency

As humans, many times we look at electronics as being invincible. For example, we have the six Million-Dollar Man, the Terminator and even your handy dandy iPhone. We also look at these electronics as being easily replaceable. When the latest phones, TVs, or gaming systems are released, most times the older devices rest in peace at an ever increasing pace.

However, ATMs are not as easily replaceable in comparison to these consumer devices. Your ATM is a high-end item that is required to have a long life span with very little downtime. To get the long life span and needed uptime, it will need proper maintenance.

Your Customer Deserves the Best

You might be asking yourself why does this issue matter for my branch? It’s simple; your customer deserves the best branch experience possible. If a customer finds the ATM is unavailable to them, it adversely affects their relationship with your branch.

A loss of ATM uptime could result in:

  • Loss of surcharge revenue
  • Unhappy, disappointed and frustrated customers
  • Customers who move their accounts to another institution with more reliable ATM service
  • Banks losing their reputation as a reliable financial institution in the customer's eyes 

So we have listed 10 tips your branch can implement to drastically increase your ATM’s uptime. Your employees can easily implement these tasks into their daily, weekly, and monthly schedules.

Tip #1: Clean Reader with Cleaning Cards

Keeping the magnetic head of the card reader clean is essential for the information that is embedded in the customer’s card, to be read properly. Clean your card readers magnetic strip once per week to help avoid misreads.

Tip #2: Store Thermal Paper in Temperature Control Environment

Thermal paper is coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to heat. Proper paper storage should consist of a dark place with low humidity and at a temperature below 77 degrees. Reducing exposure to office light, sunlight and humidity will assure satisfactory performance and drastically reduce paper jams. Success Story: How Peoples Bank Achieved 99% ATM Uptime

Tip #3: Sort Money when Loading ATM to Prevent Potential Problem Bill that Could Cause Jams

Most jams are caused by poor currency. When sorting the cash to be placed inside your ATM, look for the following culprits:

  • Dogged eared bills
  • Torn bills
  • Taped bills
  • New bills
  • Soggy bills

By removing this type of currency from the mix, you will be able to reduce many of your jams.

Tip #4: Only Offer Denominations of $10 or Higher

Let’s face it; ones and fives get used regularly. This means they quickly turn into the “poor currency” that we talked about in number 3 of this article. By using tens and above you will have cleaner currency in your ATM making for a smoother user experience.

Tip #5: Replenish Cassettes Before Low or Out of Cash Status

Like your grandpa always says, proper planning prevents … well you know poor performance. Plan ahead for peak usage time, such as holidays and weekends to prevent running out of money. If you run out of money, your customers will not be happy.

Your number one goal as a branch is customer service!

Tip #6: Control Temperature in ATM Environment

Conditions such as excessive heat, humidity, moisture and cold can damage or lessen the performance of your ATM. These conditions affect the internal electronics, rollers and belts.  Note: Operating temperature should be as close as possible to 72 degrees or room temperature.  

Tip #7: Keep the Touch Screen Clean

Your customers have many different types of employment. Imagine if you will, a chef, mechanic and a garbage man stop by your location to use the ATM. Your screen has quickly become, well … not so clean.

Grease and dirt that accumulate on the screen can affect the sensors thus causing the screen to be less responsive or stop working. This of course makes for a less than satisfied customer and can result in a loss of surcharge revenue affecting the branches profitability.

Note: Use a microfiber cloth to get rid of the dirt and debris off the screen. This should be done daily.  

Tip #8: A Well-trained Staff

A well-trained staff who follows the suggestions outlined in this guide, will be able to quickly fix problems such as currency, paper jams and much more.

The results of trained staff will:

  • Drastically reduce your ATM down time
  • Increase your customer’s satisfaction
  • Reduce maintenance requests from your service provider

In other words, it’s a win, win, win situation for your branch. 

Tip #9: Regular Scheduled Preventive Maintenance

Your ATM service contract should include scheduled preventative maintenance service. If it does not you may want to take a second look at your service provider. For a full explanation of preventative maintenance, read our blog post:  What is Preventative Maintenance and Why is it Important?

Regular scheduled preventive maintenance can be scheduled for a time your branch is slow vs. the ATM deciding to go down on a Friday at 5:00pm.

Your ATM uses a number of mechanical parts such as rollers and belts that over time breakdown and wear out. Proactively replacing these items before they fail will drastically reduce down time.  

Tip #10:  Choose Your Vendor Carefully.

Choose a vendor that has experience working on your type of ATM. Your service provider should offer an experienced and well-trained technician. They should have quick response times, quick resolution of issues and an available supply of parts.

You should look for a service provider that has your best interest at heart and always focuses on the solution to your problem.  Read our article: What a Real Commitment to Service Looks Like so that you can easily identify the difference between someone who is just a vendor and a true service partner.

To learn more about how to successfully install and manage an ATM, download our free resource: The ATM Installation Preparation Checklist.

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About Sean Farrell

Sean has been in the business since 2003 and always aims to be an expert on whatever solutions QDS is providing. Sean has grown into a thought leader in the space through research and company growth. Sean holds strongly to his Christian faith and uses those principles to guide the business.