5 Merchandising Best Practices for C-Store ATMs

Maximizing the effectiveness of your ATM program

ATM cash withdrawal

Brought to you by Cardtronics.

The number of ATMs in the U.S. is on the rise: According to an August 2017 press release from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), there are between 475,000 to 500,000 ATMs operating in the United States. Plenty of ATMs are located at bank branches and inside restaurants and bars, but one of the most common places to find an ATM today is inside a local convenience store.

C-stores are designed to offer consumers what they need, when they need it, and one thing that many consumers need is convenient access to cash on the go without having to drive across town to their nearest bank branch ATM. As a result, c-store ATMs are a natural alternative and have proven to be a true sales booster for the c-store channel.

While simply having an ATM in the store itself is half of the battle, c-store operators can significantly influence their program’s effectiveness by focusing in on five key areas involving the ATM.


C-stores offer hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of products for sale to their customers. So in order to maximize the valuable real estate footprint the ATM occupies, it is imperative that customers have a clear line of sight to the ATM whenever possible. For the greatest visibility and usage of the cash machine, install the ATM near the store’s main/front entrance whenever possible. If the main entrance position isn’t an option, consider placing it directly across from the store’s main entrance, and if that won’t work either, choose a spot near the front store window. This location can also work out well, especially if a 4-sided ATM topper is used to help drive awareness. With a topper mounted on the terminal, the “ATM” sign on the topper will be in direct view of the store’s parking lot and any potential ATM users. If none of these three options work, the last resort would be to deploy the ATM in the rear of the store, typically meaning near the public restrooms.


The ATM should be placed in a clear, unencumbered location within the store, offering easy access to any and all potential customers—including those with disabilities that require the assistance of wheelchairs or walkers. Effective March 15, 2012, in order for an ATM to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ATM must have:

  • Clean area of at least 30” x 48” in front of the ATM with a stable, firm and slip-resistant surface with an accessible route to get to the machine.
  • Operable parts for people with disabilities.
  • The same degree of privacy for all ATM users.
  • Speech-enabled accessibility.
  • A readily available and usable headphone jack.
  • Audio receipts with adequate information conveyed.
  • Input controls discernible by touch/raised, and keypads must be arranged like a telephone keypad with middle button discernible by touch. Keys’ characters must contrast with their backgrounds.
  • Display screen visible from 40” above ground in front of the machine.
  • Braille instructions for starting the speech mode on machine.
  • If there is more than one ATM, at least one of them must be accessible to people with disabilities.

For complete details on the ADA requirements for ATMs, please visit the ADA website at: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm

Location Awareness

Don’t keep the ATM a secret from consumers. Market the ATM program where you can. Many c-store retailers have a store locator on their website or mobile app. If possible, incorporate an ATM locator feature that allows customers to search for a store with an ATM, or consider adding a standalone ATM locator to your site and/or app. If the ATM is bank branded, be sure that the bank’s ATM locator is up to date with the location’s current address.


Promoting the ATM with signage both inside and outside the store is key. External signage can include pump toppers, pump topper extenders, monument signs, pump decals and of course, external store signage. Within the store, the ATM can have an ATM topper to alert customers of its existence, and there can also be window signs, ceiling danglers, floor decals, directional signage and blade signs. Alerting customers that the ATM is there and ready to be used is important—if customers don’t know it’s there, they won’t know to use it.


Ensuring an ATM is safe and secure is paramount to its success in a c-store. The ATM should be deployed near, or in clear sight of, store clerks to deter criminals from installing card-skimming devices. The ATM should also have a robust bolting system to ensure it is secured to the building’s concrete flooring whenever possible. In high-risk areas, retailers may want to go a step further by installing anti-pry devices, steel boots or layer-enhanced boots to deter criminal activity. Don’t take the physical security of your ATM for granted. Make it a point to discuss all available options with your ATM provider. If the site the ATM is located in is not secure or is tampered with, the usage rates may go down, or customers may avoid it altogether.

Ensuring your ATM program is optimally effective simply requires a bit of planning and attention. Focus on visibility, accessibility, location awareness, signage and security, and your customers will thank you.