We figured it would be best to educate our customers and potential customers on what the master password is, what it is used for, and the steps we take to keep your ATMs secure by retaining our password when we program your ATMs.  

  1. What is the master password? There are multiple levels of passwords in retail ATMs. The operator, service and the master being the highest level of programming access. With the master, you have every option available in the ATMs programming system.
  2. What is the master password used for? It is used to program the ATM by inputting settings that will sync up to a processor and allow transactions to process on secure card networks.
  3. Who “Owns” the Master Password? The industry standard for all experienced ATM Companies is the ATM Company who programs your ATM retains ownership of the master password. Most ATM Companies – like Best Products – are happy to let you choose your own master password for those that request it. If not, you may physically own the hardware, but if an ATM Company programs it, it is typically one of their master password. So even though you own the hardware, the ATM Company owns the processing and password. Why? It’s pretty simple actually. Ultimately the ATM Company is liable to ensure the integrity of your ATM and all ATMs processing on their network. Basically, it is OUR responsibility to make sure your ATM is programmed correctly. Keeping the master password secure is the most basic form of “hardening” to prevent your ATM from being compromised.
  4. Why the master password should NOT be given out: Yes, ATMs are more secure than ever before – but with technology – there certainly are always vulnerabilities. Without getting into specifics – any ATM Company that willingly gives out their master password to anyone and everyone– has questionable business practices or does not have enough experience to realize the importance of protecting your ATM. Nowadays, the internet has given rise to self-proclaimed “ATM Guru’s” who recommend you have your own master password and you program your own machines. In theory – this is great advice as it pertains to security. Because who better to trust than yourself. Truly some may have your best intentions at heart. We get that and appreciate the few with these good intentions. But….they are not the ones paying for mistakes that inexperienced operators make – which can and do happen. On the flip side the majority of these “Gurus” are competing ATM operators who are tying to scrounge up business! They use this scare tactic to manipulate less experienced operators into thinking their ATM company is being dishonest by withholding the “master password”. Playing on the emotion of fear is the oldest sales tactic in the book. Don’t get fooled! The truth is – what they really don’t want you to find out is not having your own master password is NOT A BIG DEAL!
  5. Why not having the Master Password is NOT A BIG DEAL: For any reputable ATM Company, you can bypass the master password by reloading software for most brands of retail ATMs. Simple as that. There are certain steps a technician must take to do this, but this process is known as “flashing”. It takes seconds to minutes to complete. Flashing is ATM service 101. Any ATM Company or ATM “Guru” who claims not having the master password is a big deal – has either no clue what they are doing OR they are using scare tactics outlined in #4. You should be very weary of their business ethics and qualifications. Utilizing “flashing” is not to say that anyone can hack into an ATM, anytime/ anywhere. They can’t. They would have to follow a set of protocols and reprogram the ATM. So not to worry – flashing isn’t going to put your ATM at risk.
  6. What about Converting Processing from one ATM Company to Another? Not to get into the weeds too much about conversions, but we convert ATMs to our processing platform all the time. New machines, used machines – as long as it is EMV Compliant – we are happy to add new customers! When someone converts their ATM to us, for the most part we send out a technician and reprogram the ATM FREE OF CHARGE. Our qualified on-site technicians “flash” and reprogram the ATMs to process with us. We do not need the old master password.  We do this all over the US. Whether it’s 1 ATM or a project of 500. Generally speaking, the only time we charge is if we suspect the ATM is broken or needs to be upgraded. In fact, 90% of the reprograms we do are 100% completely free. Additionally, as long as you are a processing customer, we can send you software and guide you through the process of “flashing” over the phone if you would prefer to program ATMs yourself. But to Best Products – sending an on-site technician to convert terminals just makes good business sense and strengthens relationships. We have the technicians and resources to do it – so why not.
  7. Can you Have your Own Master Password? Yes-absolutely. In fact, the majority of independent ATM companies processing under our umbrella, both large and small retain their own passwords for peace of mind. These customers typically are programming and servicing their own ATMs. We have absolutely no problem using your own master password if you notify us at time of programming. Keep in mind though, we will make every effort to ensure your ATM is programmed correctly, but if you make unauthorized changes or you make a mistake with a setting or forget this password, the liability is on you – not us. Typically business owners who do not service their machines themselves would utilize the ATM Companies password. That being said, we don’t recommend using the master password for day-to-day replenishing, as there are settings that can easily be changed which may cause issues for the inexperienced.

Rule of thumb

If you aren’t going to program your ATM yourself – you probably don’t need the master password, and you will never need it. If you feel more comfortable with your own master password – ask us to set your own master password at time of programming/ installation but be aware that the liability is on you if a setting gets changed causing a loss. Additionally, not having master password access is NO BIG DEAL. You not knowing it, really makes no difference whatsoever to a reputable company with qualified ATM service technicians.

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of great ATM companies out there. Whether you go with us or one of them, make sure you are working with a company who is being honest with you from the get go. Best Products Sales & Service, Inc. has been an ATM ISO since 1998. In our almost quarter century history, we have serviced well over 10,000 customers in the retail and financial verticals nationwide. We learn new things every day and continue to evolve, but you can’t make up experience. We feel it is important to share our knowledge with those with less experience, in order to maintain integrity in an industry we are so proud to be a part of.