Home Merchant cash advance Cannabis and crypto: twin opportunities for independent ATMs

Cannabis and crypto: twin opportunities for independent ATMs


As more states legalize cannabis and the use of cryptocurrency grows, independent ATM operators are finding a multitude of growth opportunities.

Joe Bundra moderated a panel with Phil Webb, Michael Guthrie, John Newberry and Eric Hennings at the Amusement Expo International.

It’s never a dull time in the ATM industry. This was evident during a panel discussion at the Amusement Expo International at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday.

While the title of the session was “Maximizing an ATM Route for Better Return on Investment,” much of the time was spent on the opportunities presented by cryptocurrency and cannabis.

The opportunities may not be immediately obvious to some, given that US banks in general do not want to deal with either cannabis or cryptocurrency.

The panelists, however, did not hesitate to point out growth opportunities.

Cannabis rules and ATMs

On the cannabis front, cannabis dispensary owners cannot own or operate ATMs. As dispensaries do not accept credit cards, cash is in high demand.

“It’s been the gold rush for three and a half to four years in the marijuana space,” said panelist Michael Guthrie, vice president of Spokane, Washington, Cypress Advantage, which operates teller machines machines in a few hundred cannabis dispensaries along the west coast. . Guthrie has a minimum of two pieces of equipment per slot and up to four depending on volume.

“Site owners don’t want machines to break down,” he said.

This is not to say that dispensaries are not a problem.

Panelists noted that some dispensaries circumvent Visa rules by having a credit card terminal that does not dispense cash, known as a “cashless machine” or “bank point.” Customers swipe their cards, enter their PIN codes, and then get the receipts they use to purchase products.

“If you experience any of these things, it’s a home run opportunity for you, you just won a lottery ticket,” said panelist Phil Webb, president, PDQ Merchant Enterprises, McHenry, Illinois. “When they are closed, the cannabis dispensary, they need to have access to money, you are that solution for them. Now you turn on your ATM. Now you are rock and roll.”

Panelist Eric Hennings, senior vice president, Partner Advisory Services, based in Billings, MT, said these “cashless vending machines” work not only in cannabis stores, but in liquor stores and ‘other places.

Fortunately, at least in Colorado, there are “cannabis friendly” banks, Hennings said. These banks are also useful for ATM operators as they tend to have a lot of cash on hand that they are happy to offload.

“I have seen more than one happy marriage with a cannabis-friendly bank,” he said.

Given the reluctance of most banks to deal with cannabis and crypto, Hennings said it made sense for ATM operators to have separate bank accounts for crypto ATMs and ATMs placed in dispensaries. of cannabis.

Beyond cannabis and crypto

Cannabis and crypto aren’t the only things piquing the interest of ATM operators these days.

Hennings said there are additional products for ATMs that work today, including dynamic currency conversion – that is, when an ATM identifies a foreign transaction. The ATM operator then invites the cardholder to convert the card to their national currency, and then collects a portion of the currency conversion fee.

Another promising product for ATMs is credit card segmentation, a credit card cash advance with a PIN code. The credit card company charges 6% plus a $ 19.95 fee.

“You can charge extra on that at the ATM,” he said. “As soon as someone tries to make a cash advance with a credit card, you can increase that extra one, two, three, four, or five dollars.”

“You have to cast a wide net,” Hennings said, referring to the new opportunities available. “You really have to get that into your entire fleet because you never know where the bitcoin buyer will be. You never know when a family from another country is going to be on vacation, and you certainly never know. when someone needs an extra $ 400 on their credit cards. “

“New generation Gab”

Looking even further, Webb described the “nextgen ATM,” an interoperable API application model for ATMs supported by a global consortium. One of the goals is to shorten the process of introducing a new product to the ATM market from the 18 to 36 months it usually takes.

“All we have to do is build an app, it goes on the ATM… and you can choose whether or not to implement it,” Webb said. A current idea of ​​Nextgen ATM is to have an NFC QR code that a consumer could use to scan and receive money.

As for the future of ATMs, Guthrie said Brinks and NCR have acquired large ATM operators, which bodes well for the future.

“They bring money and they bring self-service,” he said. “They think the money is going to be there for a long, long time.”

Joe Bundra, National Sales Manager, J&J Ventures Gaming LLC, in Effingham, Illinois, moderated the panel.


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