Outsourcing the ATM

Moving from in-house management to an exclusive contract with Cardtronics offers Timewise more profit possibilities

After years of managing its ATM machines in-house, Timewise Food Stores, a division of Landmark Industries, decided to outsource the entire management and maintenance process exclusively to Cardtronics Inc., based in Houston.

Prior to this agreement, Timewise, which has 228 convenience stores in the Houston and San Antonio areas, owned and operated all of its ATMs and did not have any bank agreements or branding on its kiosks. Customers were charged a fee per use, and the company handled all of the maintenance for the ATM machines in-house.

“We were very intrigued when Cardtronics floated the idea of becoming our exclusive provider of ATM services. While the decision to outsource our ATM program to them was multi-faceted, their ATM bank-branding program was a significant factor,” Robert Duff, partner at Timewise Food Stores, told Convenience Store News.

Upon assuming management of the ATM program, Cardtronics installed new ATM machines at all Timewise stores and began fielding inquiries from prospective ATM branding partners. Cardtronics secures the branding partners and the financial institution adds the ATM to its cash-access network, allowing its cardholders to get the convenience of fee-free ATM access at Timewise locations, Duff explained.

“Multiple financial institutions will want the ATM in our store to be part of their fee-free ATM network because Timewise Food Stores are so conveniently located for their cardholders,” he said. “Because the ATMs in our stores are now Cardtronics ATMs, as many as 10 financial institutions can place their brand on the ATM and make it fee-free for their cardholders. Of those 10 banks, one will be our premier ATM branding partner.”

It is up to the banks to notify their customers about the partnership with Timewise, so they are aware they can use the ATMs surcharge-free. The incentive to the banks is that the more customers who use the machines, the less money it will cost them as part of the contract.

“From an income perspective, the benefits to Timewise Food Stores include a mix of traditional surcharge fees, as well as revenue sharing linked to the ATM branding program and the fee-free transactions it creates,” said Duff.


While the most obvious benefit of outsourcing the ATM management and maintenance is time saved, another top incentive for Timewise was the category cost dropping down to almost zero immediately. When managing the process in-house, the required maintenance and use of an armored car resulted in large expenses, according to Duff.

“Our cost around offering ATM cash access in our stores has essentially gone to zero, with Timewise’s responsibilities now limited to providing floor space and power for the ATM,” he noted.

Also, with the marketing work done by ATM-branding financial institutions, including adding Timewise locations to their ATM locators and mobile banking apps, Timewise Food Stores has the potential to see much higher foot traffic at its stores. In the past, the ATM revenue came solely from surcharge fees, but now with ATM branding, there is the opportunity to draw from multiple revenue streams, bring more people through the doors and increase the spend at the point-of-sale, Duff said.

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