Greener ATMs

Blog: ATMs in Shopping Centers: How to Make Them All Greener

April 15, 2024  |  RAOUL MEICHTRY

ATMs are essential to a customer-friendly shopping center experience. Physical money enables consumers to stay on top of their spending as they browse through alluring retail, entertainment, and dining options. But when it comes to how mall ATMs operate, there is untapped potential for energy savings. As sustainability shifts from a societal concern to a business imperative, banks and malls can take a measurable step towards a greener future, one ATM at a time.

Let’s take a look at Europe’s alpine region. The Swiss love their cash: despite the rise of digital alternatives, a quarter of all transactions in the country are still made with paper money, according to the latest edition of the Swiss Payment Monitor1 . Coins and banknotes are also the most widely accepted payment method for customer-facing businesses, such as shops and restaurants. In a recent Swiss National Bank survey2, the acceptance levels of cash, mobile payment apps, and credit cards were 92%, 59%, and 53% respectively. Around 6,200 ATMs feed the Swiss appetite for cash.

The Swiss are also big fans of malls. Since the first one opened its doors in Spreitenbach, northwest of Zurich, in 1970, a plethora of shopping centers have sprung up across the country. Today, Switzerland has 211 malls with a retail space of over 5,000 square meters. Hardly any other country in Europe has such a high density of shopping malls as Switzerland, a country characterized by urban sprawl, high purchasing power, and a penchant for in-store shopping3.

Cash-loving, brick-and-mortar-shopping Swiss consumers place environmental sustainability high on their list of priorities. They expect eco-conscious practices, products, and services to be the norm. For this and other reasons, sustainability also matters to shopping malls and financial institutions alike. Many Swiss banks already have a clear climate strategy in place, which includes cutting both their financed and operational emissions. On the retail front, shopping centers are increasingly on the lookout for concrete ways to reduce their carbon footprint – from e-mobility to natural ventilation solutions.

Saving energy, one ATM at a time
As Switzerland gears up to meet its international climate commitments, every little bit helps. ATMs, particularly those located in shopping malls, also have a role to play in the quest for a greener world. This is where DN Switzerland’s Green ATM solution comes into play.

Most of the 211 Swiss shopping centers host one or more ATMs on their premises, for a total of 335 devices4. All of them currently run 24/7, but only 113 are always accessible, being either located outside or part of a 24-hour zone attached to the mall. Two-thirds of all mall ATMs (222) are de facto inaccessible at night, on Sundays, and on public holidays when the malls are closed.

Taking as an example the most common ATM model, the CINEO 2550, it can be estimated that 222 “always on” ATMs performing an average number of transactions consume around 215 MWh of energy per year, generating some 27 tons of carbon dioxide. In terms of cost, that's an electricity bill of 58,000 Swiss francs (about $66,000).

But what if those 222 ATMs could be seamlessly switched off during periods of no usage, without any impact on availability or customer experience? Well, they can. By implementing Green ATM, DN’s power management software, self-service systems can be remotely set to sleep mode during idle times and reactivated as soon as they are accessible to customers again.

It is possible to define when exactly, and for how long, the ATMs should be turned off. The desired shutdown times are configured in a file compatible with all DN Series and CINEO terminals. The Green 
ATM functionality also allows tracking of the power consumption of a device or fleet without any hardware changes.

A seemingly small action can make a big difference: turning 222 standard devices into “Green ATMs” would save more than 100 MWh of energy per year, making the overall electricity bill about 28,000 Swiss francs (approx. $32,000) lighter and preventing some 13 tons of CO2 from being unnecessarily released into the atmosphere.

With the energy saved, the average Swiss citizen could drive an electric car for half a year. Hopefully, that will include a few trips to the local mall, too.

Learn more about our approach to Sustainable Banking, and contact us today to discuss how your organization can take the next step towards a more sustainable and efficient ATM fleet.

1Swiss Payment Monitor 2024: Significantly Fewer Cash Payments Nowadays (
2Payment Methods Survey of Companies in Switzerland 2023 (
3NEWS: Study "Omni-Channel Management 2024" |
4According to own research

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