According to a recent report issued by the London-based consultancy group RBR, the number of ATMs deployed worldwide has dropped for the first time ever. As the report noted, ATM numbers decreased in four of the five largest markets in 2018, including the United States, China, Japan, and Brazil. Combined, those markets comprise more than half of the world’s ATMs.
However, while RBR’s research showed a 1 percent decline worldwide among the estimated 3.24 million deployed, this is not necessarily bad news for the independent U.S. ATM operator. In fact, it may be good news.
As RBR pointed out, the primary reason for a decline in U.S. ATMs was due to bank branch closures coupled with removal of machines from locations by operators unwilling or unable to upgrade to EMV standards. Presumably, those machines withdrawn were from marginally profitable accounts while independent ATM operators continue to efficiently provide vital financial services to places that have experienced bank branch closures. According to the latest figures from the National ATM Council, of the estimated 470,000 ATMs on location in the U.S., some 278,000 are deployed by independent operators.