Are independent cash machines different to bank ATMs?

Are independent cash machines different to bank ATMs?

Picture this: you’re walking through your local high street, check your pockets and realise you need some cash. You stop and stretch yourself (like a meerkat) to look over the crowds for an ATM cash machine and see two options. On one side of the street, there’s a bank with an ATM in the wall and a queue of 10 people that’s barely moving (we’ve all been there). Option two is on the other side of the street – a convenience store advertises an independent cash machine inside the store, which is freestanding, free to use and has one person using it without a queue behind them.


Which one would you use?


The reality is that some people would actually still prefer option one. So does it make sense to queue for an ATM because there’s a bank behind the wall it’s bolted onto?


Well, it wouldn’t be fair to give you a one-word answer and leave it at that. So we’ve put together two lists – one with the similarities between cash machines operated by a bank, the other showing the differences.


The similarities between bank ATMs and independent cash machines


  1. Both types of ATM have a screen, buttons and a pin pad (sorry for stating the obvious). There may or may not be some differences in shapes and sizes but generally all ATMs are made by a select group of manufacturers.


  1. Both are available as free to use. We all know that ATMs operated by a bank are always free to use… and indeed there are some independently operated ATMs that charge a withdrawal fee… however Link recently published figures that show two thirds (67%) of remote (non-branch) ATMs are free to use!


  1. Your card can be used by the same amount of independently-operated ATMs as bank ATMs. So unless you have a very obscure card provider, you’re all good!


  1. All ATMs are as secure as can be. Banks must meet a certain standard when operating cash machines to ensure that all withdrawals and transactions are secure. Unsurprisingly, independent ATM operators have to meet exactly the same standards, so be assured that your cash is always safe!


  1. Both dispense cash. A simple one, but true. No matter which company has its logo on the ATM, it will at least dispense cash… and sometimes do more!


As you can see, there’s a lot of common ground. So let’s get onto the interesting bit – the differences between a bank-operated ATM and one operated by an independent business:


  1.    …



No, we haven’t forgotten to write the list… there just really isn’t anything. No differences at all.


Okay, if you’re being really picky, your bank statement will display the name of the ATM operator next to the amount you withdrew (congrats if you thought of that before reading it!) but other than that, we’d be surprised if you noticed any real difference.


So when you next find yourself in this position, if there’s a queue at the hole in the wall, try checking the local shop. If there’s an ATM in there, you can withdraw your cash in a safe (and probably warmer) environment and get straight back to whatever you needed that cash for!

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