How much money does an ATM keep in it?

Does this vary by different ATM?

What is a typical figure for the amount in which the ATM is “filled” with from the bank?

How often is it refilled?

What is the maximum amount one can take out at a given time?

/No, I’m not planning a heist! A friend and I withdrew money from the ATM yesterday… as a joke, when it asked how much I wanted to withdraw, I put $400,000 to see if there was a character limit on the screen. I cancelled it, (of course) Then we started asking “I Wonder” questions.

Not sure about the capacity and frequency of refills. But maximum amounts do vary by machine and by your bank card/account plan. I think the one across the street from me says, or used to say, that it would dispense a maximum of $500 at any one time. I’ve never gotten any more out at a time.

Former bank equipment technician here.

Your bank/card issuer sets limits on maximum amount of withdrawal per day.
Bank machines, e.g. those attached to or sited upon a bank property are typically refilled/serviced daily. Freestanding units in conveniece stores are outside my field of knowledge.

Machines can be configured to hold multiple denomination cans, based upon design. Our units held three cans, and could be set for $20, $10, and $5, or 2-$20, 1-$10, or 3-$20. Each can was capable of containing ~ 1’ of money. Thickness of scrip varies with age and use, .005" was what we set the bill dispensers to read as midline. With that setting, you get 200 bills/inch, and a three can machine could then vary from $144K to $84K when full.

::eyeballs the Brink’s driver as he refills the ATMs at school::

I know the ATMs in the student union building are refilled at least three times a week. And my credit union won’t let me take out more than $300, which is a Good Thing.


In Australia a machine could hold more as they only dispense $50 and $20 notes usually and the new 4 bin machines hold up to 8,000 notes. Ours are slightly thicker plastic.

It seems that every year or so there is a spate of ramraid robberies where whole machines are stolen. There were 19 in a couple of months in Sydney earlier this year, then they appeared to stop again.

My favourite was a few years ago when the thieves rammed the atm, hooked up chains to pull it from its moorings and then discovered that they couldn’t open it. They also had no means to get it onto their truck so they took off dragging the atm behind them. Although they were long gone when the police arrived it wasn’t a difficult matter to follow them as the atm tore huge grooves in the road surface and other motorists tended to notice the truck towing the atm, which was producing a showery display of sparks as it bounced along the road.


A year ago or so, the small college where I work decided to set up an ATM in the cafeteria. It’s geared toward students who want smallish amounts of cash to spend in the vending machines or to buy lunch, so they got one that is programmed to dispense $5 bills. (The machine is also not owned by a bank, so the college can collect the fees.)

One of the offices (Student Services, I think) is responsible for filling the machine as necessary, and they usually just run to the bank, purchase a few wads of $5 bills, and load those into the machine. One day, the person who was responsible for filling the machine got lazy, and decided it would be easier to put in a smaller number of $20 bills instead, without realizing that the machine had been told it would have $5 bills in it, and that the machine would not be able to “see” that it was dispensing $20 bills instead…

The news went through the school very fast, since it is a very small school, that anyone asking for $5 would get $20 instead, and that the receipt would show only a $5 withdrawal from their account (plus the transaction fee). However, once the problem was recognized, the school did make sure that all transactions were adjusted to reflect the actual withdrawal amount, rather than just the number of bills.


Banks don’t advertise the amounts.

Not advertised for your protection. i.e. insuring there will be some there when you need it.

Depends. $200/day max. is common.

The ATM won’t play games. It will default to the max allowed per day or to zero and you can enter another amount.

While I’m sure some (all?) ATMs have a hard “maximum amount per dispense” value controlled by system hardware or software, every time I’ve seen the daily maximum ATM withdrawal amount limit reported it was actually set by the bank holding the deposit account the ATM patron was drawing on.
To make that more clear, every time Mr. Slant has researched an ATM transaction, he discovered that the limit on “how much you can get out per day per ATM card” was set by the bank that the ATM user uses, not the guys who own the machine itself, unless they happened to be the same people.
The $200/day max is common, and I suspect was chosen to limit fraud losses.
I have had to investigate a couple of transactions with withdrawals in the $300-$400 range.
Trivia: anyone know that some states hand out ATM cards for welfare/unemployment benefits? Utah did at one point that I’m aware of.
Finally, uh, the amount held in the ATM is HIGHLY variable and based on a number of issues. Some of those issues are completely non-technical and center around issues including ATM volume, bank willingness to tie up money not earning interest, cost of replenishment (armored car runs cost more than a trip in a taxi, unless the taxi is in NYC), ATM crime rate, ATM surcharge profit levels, etc etc.
Overall, ATM operators and bankers are as interested in fill amounts being public knowledge as branch bankers are in telling you what the teller cash draw quantities are for each of the five tellers at their branch on Main St downtown.
These kinds of discussions make their skin crawl. There are people who will kill a man over $250, and quite a few more as the $$ figure goes up.

      • Not all ATMs are alike, the ones at my bank for example now only dispense $20 bills. I have seen the drawer-like money cartridge things they put in them opened, and there is a single stack of bills inside each cartridge about eight inches tall. But when they refill the machine, they usually go outside (to the drive-through ATM, which is located separate from the building) and come in with three cartridges (they take three full ones out, and bring three empty ones in). So… ~24 “inches” of $20 bills, = $96,000.00. Around what danceswithcats said.

…Presumably it has three trays so that if the operator wanted, they could have it dispense $5, $10 and $20 denominations (or three different denominations anyway…).

AFAIK, all states issue EBT (electronic benefits transfer) cards to all of their food stamp and welfare recipients. I’m absolutely certain on the food stamp front, but less so on the welfare end. These cards function like debit cards at participating retailers and ATMs.

By the way, there are TONS of ATMs that not only have only one cartridge, but also fill that single cartridge only one quarter or one half of the way, sometimes less.
Some ATM vendors charge a substantial premium for the capacity to operate with two cartridges, and another more substantial premium to go to 4 cartridges.
You’re right as to why they have different trays… it lets you dispense things more granularly.
Some ATM operators use those bays for non-cash items, BTW. I’ve seen ATMs that dispensed stamps and prepaid calling cards, for example. I don’t know if they used standard cartridges and pickers for those dispensers or some custom job.
My favorite added-feature ATM was one that would take your signed paycheck, subtract a fee, and then cash out the rest of your check, down to the change. Neat idea, although I never actually used one and can’t vouch for it one way or the other.

In our ATMs, stamps are in their own cassette, and are on paper the same size and roughly the same thickness as currency, so no modifications or special considerations needed to be made.

We leave selling calling cards to the 7-11.

Has anybody encountered an ATM, lately, that doesn’t just dispense money in $20 increments?

Some Canadian ATMs dispense 20s and 50s. I still wonder why more don’t dispense 10s. And I miss the Royal Bank’s dispensing of 5s…

I hate that I can’t find any more evidence of it besides my anecdote, as the bank website doesn’t mention that the ATM dispenses in $10 increments, but there is an ATM at my office building that dispenses $10 and $20 bills.

Depends on the bank. One of my banks allows $500 per day. The other $700 per day. I know banks that go up to $1000 per day maximum withdrawal. $200 per day (as mentioned elsewhere here) seems pretty low to me and, for my purposes, would be an inconvenience.

I have seen at least two ATMs operated by US Bank that dispense in $10 increments.
They have $20s AND $10s.

For the record, one is located in the Giant Eagle Grocery Store at 1700 Corporate Woods Pkwy, Uniontown, OH 44685.|40.96102%2C-81.46782|1|1700+Corporate+Woods+Pkwy%2C+Uniontown%2C+OH+44685|L1|

The U.S. Bank ATM where I work dispenses $5’s and $20’s. I saw an ATM at the airport last year that only dispenses $100’s, which at airport prices means 2 burgers and a Coke. :wink:

ATMs can be set up to dispense any denomination, including $1’s if the ATM owner thinks that’s what people really want (and can keep up with filling it). “Mobile” ATMs that are set up for special events will dispense bills based on the kind of crowd that is expected. An ATM at Ribfest or Taste of Minnesota will likely dispense $20’s, but an ATM at a church’s Fall Festival might spit out $5’s.

Casinos. $20s and $100s mostly. Also at my former college, $10s and $20s.

As for ATMs in convience stores and gas stations, those are maintained by the owner. The owner is the one who fills it, decides what to fill it with, and gets at least some of the fee you get charged. I believe one where I worked had a withdrawl limit of $100 and the owner filled the cassette with $500-1000 in $20 bills. If there was a problem with one of the bills, say it was crinkled or had a corner folded over, the machine would often jam.

The one where I work will dispense in $5 increments…and it doesn’t charge me! :wink:
I take out $25 just for fun…to see the fiver.