How Much Money is in an ATM? Its not what you think

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Written By Chinyere

 

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Created in 1960 by Luther George Simjian, ATMs have become one of the most outstanding inventions in the financial world. With over 4 million ATMs situated in different spots around the world, people are able to perform financial transactions without necessarily visiting a banking hall or speaking to a teller behind the counter. But what you are wondering is how much money is in an ATM right, keep reading.

ATM image explaining how much money is in an ATM.

The Automated Teller Machine popularly called ATM is a machine that allows customers to perform basic financial transactions with the use of a bank card. Transactions such as bank deposits, withdrawals, printing stamps, checking account balances, etc can be accomplished using the ATM machine. 

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When we visit ATMs, there is mostly always cash in them so you may be wondering things like; Where does that cash come from? Is there any more cash where this one came from?  Well, to answer these questions, it is important to first know how an ATM works. 

Read also: How Much Cash Can You Legally Keep at Home in the US, the UK, and Canada?

How does an ATM work?

Various components of an ATM function together to make it work. The mainboard is the most important part of the ATM. It is the powerhouse responsible for processing every data put into the ATM Via the keyboard. This mainboard functions using an active bank network.

To perform transactions, a bank card is required. The bank card is slotted into the card reader. After the card pin is inserted, the card reader reads the card and sends the data to the mainboard which links the right account to the card. 

Based on inputs on the keyboard by the customer, the mainboard is able to communicate with the bank network to carry out commands punched on the keyboard. After the process is complete, the mainboard initiates the dispensing of cash. 

To dispense cash, the dispenser transfers the cash from the cassette (the section that holds cash) to the cash tray. A number of sensors ensure that only the right amount of cash is being dispensed. Finally, the cash tray opens and you receive your money. 

ATM dispensing cash.
ATM dispensing cash.

Where does the cash come from?

From the explanation above, one can understand that the money from ATMs comes from inside the ATM. Of course, they are not minted there neither do they magically appear there. 

They are placed there by people who have been authorized to load the machines such as bank employees. 

The cash loaded in the ATM comes from the bank or business that owns the ATM. This cash is loaded in a section of the ATM called the cassette. The cassette is made up of four boxes although older ATMs had about two boxes. Each box is made to hold a different denomination although, this is not compulsory.

Staff pulls out one ATM cassette in preparation to load cash.

How much cash does an ATM hold?

Still wondering How Much Money is in an ATM? There is no definite amount of cash that an ATM can hold however, at its maximum, each ATM cassette can hold up to 2200 banknotes. This means that an average ATM will hold a maximum of 8800 notes. 

In the US, most ATMs are loaded with 20 dollars and 50-dollar notes evenly distributed among the four trays. This could mean that an ATM has a maximum capacity of 308,000 dollars. Most ATMs however are only loaded with about 10,000 dollars for security purposes. This could be a bit higher if there is a higher demand on the ATM. 


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