1. What is White label-ATM?
  2. What’s the difference between Brown label vs White label ATM?
  3. Stakeholder/Players in White label ATM game?
  4. Why do we need White Label ATM?
  5. How does White Label ATM help in financial inclusion?
  6. Facilities @White label ATM?
  7. Where does the Commission come?
  8. White label ATM: Challenges/Limitations/Problems
  9. Mock Questions

What is White label-ATM?

  • Traditionally, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have respective bank’s logo. So just by looking, this is SBI’s ATM, this is ICICI’s ATM and so on.
  • But White label ATM doesn’t have such Bank logo, hence called White label ATMs.
  • RBI has given license / permission to non-bank entities to open such ATMs.
  • Any non-bank entity with a minimum net worth of Rs.100 crore, can apply for white label ATMs. (not just NBFC, any non-bank entity can apply.)
  • Late 80s: first ATM in India; 2012: RBI issues guideline for White label; 2013: RBI gives license/permission.
  • Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited =the first company to get RBI’s permission to open White label ATMs.
  • They started their chain under brandname “Indicash”.
  • Other White label= Muthoot Finance, Srei Infra., Vakrangee Software, Prizm Payments, AGS. More than 15 companies given such permission.

White Label ATM

difference between Brown vs White label ATM?
Brown Label ATM White label ATM
When banks outsourced the ATM operations to a third party. When ATMs are owned and operated by non-bank entities but they are not doing ‘outsourcing-contract’ from a particular bank.
The private company owns & operates the ATM machine, pays office rent. They negotiate with the landlord, electricity company, telecom company and so on. Same
The bank (which has outsourced this work) provides cash for that ATM. Sponsor bank provides the cash.
ATM has logo of that bank (which has outsourced this work). No. White label ATM doesn’t have such logo. Not even of the sponsor bank.
No such compulsion. They’ve to compulsory open a few ATMs in (tier 3 to tier 6) areas. (explained after a few paragraphs)
RBI not involved directly. These outsourcing companies have contractual obligation with their respective banks. RBI directly involved because these white label Companies have to separately get license/permission from RBI to run business.

Initially, RBI did not permit White label ATMs, and Banks wanted to reduce the operational cost, so they came up Brown Label ATM (outsourcing) system.

So in a way, the evolution is: (Bank’s own ATM) =>(Brown Label) => (white label)

Stakeholder/Players in White label ATM game?

RBI Gives license/permission to open White label ATMs. Under Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. (And NOT under Banking regulation act or SARFAESI Act, Ombudsman or any other act.)
(non-bank) White Label ATM company Rents the place, looks after maintenance and servicing of the machine.
Sponsor bank Loads the cash in those White label ATMs. This also ensures counterfeit/fake currency notes are not circulated through white label ATM.
Payment network operator
  • Visa, Mastercard, the National Financial Switch (NFS under National Payment Corporation of India.)
  • They provide technical connectivity in the system.

Why do we need White Label ATM?

  1. ATMs offer convenience to customer (Because he doesn’t need to visit Bank branch every time). ATMs are open 24/7, and even on holidays.
  2. Convenience to bank, because they don’t have to keep large staff/office (compared to a system without ATMs). It reduces their cost of branch-operation.
  3. But in India, ATM penetration has been very low. Observe:
Country Approx. No. of ATMs per 10 lakh population
USA 1400
UK 500
China 200
India less than 100

Most of the ATMs concentrated in urban areas- that too only at prime locations e.g. near shopping malls and airports= financial inclusion not achieved.

How does White Label ATM help in financial inclusion?

RBI requires White label-ATM companies to install machines in the ratio of
Two ATMs in (tier 3 to 6 place) : One ATM in (tier 1-2 place).

Confused? Observe:
Center city census definition:population is ____ White Label ATM
Metropolitan Tier 1 10 lakh and above if company wants to Setup ONE ATM here,
Urban 1 lakh and above
Semi-Urban Tier 2 50,000 to 99,999
Tier 3 20,000 to 49,999 Then, company must install TWO ATMs here.
Tier 4 10,000 to 19,999
Rural Tier 5 5,000 to 9,999
Tier 6 Less than 5,000.

For example, RBI has permitted Tata to deploy 15000 White label ATMs. Meaning [2/(2+1)] x 15000 = 10,000 ATMs will be setup in the rural and semi-urban areas. = more access to ATM= financial inclusion.

Facilities @White label ATM?

  1. Any customer from belonging to any bank, can use it.
  2. Every month, Five transactions are free.
  3. White label ATM users can also withdraw a maximum of 10,000 per transaction.
  4. Open 24/7 and on holidays
  5. Value added services like mobile recharge, utility bill payments etc.

Where does the Commission come?

White ATM Company doesn’t run for charity or goodwill. Company has to make profit. So where does the aslimaal/commission come?

Before White label ATM With White Label
  1. If you used card in your own bank’s ATM= everything free.
  2. If you used card on other bank’s ATM= first five transactions free (every month). After that commission charges of Rs.~17-20 for taking out money and Rs. 5-9 for making balance inquiry or mini statement. (This commission directly charged on your account.)
  1. First five transactions free every month.
  2. Then, transaction fee ~Rs.15 and balance inquiry fee ~Rs.5 BUT this commission is paid by your bank to the White label Company.
  3. White label company cannot directly charge money on you. (RBI rules).
  4. Although it doesn’t mean White label ATM=totally “Free” because your bank will cut those charges from your account.

Additionally, White Label ATM company can make commission from

  1. value added services @their ATM e.g electricity /telephone bill payments, mobile recharge, DishTV-Tatasky recharge etc.
  2. Selling advertisement space in the room and above the door.

White label ATM: Challenges/Limitations/Problems

  1. For a white label ATM company, biggest challenges = office rent + Security guard.
  2. If they want to make profit, every White ATM needs to get at least 75-125 transactions per day= very unlikely, especially when RBI requires them to setup 2/3rd of the ATMs in semi-urban and rural areas.
  3. Even in Bangalore, some of the white-label ATMs are getting barely 2-3 customers every week=loss making business at the moment.
  4. Despite the entry of White Label ATM companies, the regular banks have not slowed down their ATM expansion drive, because branded ATM=passive advertisement and customer loyalty. Result? ATMs everywhere =too much competition= small players will bleed out just like in aviation business.
  5. Last year, a lady was brutally attacked in ATM booth in Bangalore. Police have warned all banks to put security guards=input cost increased. Banks themselves admitting “five transactions free every month=loss making” in this scenario.
  6. SBI has the largest ATM network in India (30,000+)= economies of scale= they’re supposed to be making profit. But this week, even SBI chairman herself has admitted their ATM business is making losses. So, it is unlikely that White label ATM companies will run profitably for a long period of time.
  7. Customer complaint: failed ATM transactions = matter falls into Issuing Bank (=bank where you have account). Some critiques fear it will lead to taarikh pe taarikh because data records are with sponsor bank and machine maintenance is under ATM company’s responsibility.

NESTED Design: Contagion Crisis

  • The White label-ATM does not have direct access to the settlements system. (like SBI or ICICI has access to RBI monitored NEFT online money transfers.)
  • Instead White label ATM is tied with a ‘sponsor-bank’. And the sponsor bank looks after the settlement. Sponsor bank loads and withdraws the cash from those “machines”. Example Federal Bank is the sponsor bank for Tata’s White label ATMs.
  • Contagion means a Bad condition in one institution leads to negative effects in the other institutes in the market.
  • Suppose few of Tata’s White label ATMs break down for xyz reason (hacking, staff negligence or whatever) and some clown starts baseless rumoring on facebook/twitter/whatsapp that Tata’s ATMs not working because federal bank has stopped supplying cash.
  • Another clown then starts rumor mongering that Federal Bank is about to collapse because of NPAs and hence not honoring its obligation to Tata.

Result: Fed.Bank account holders panic and line up at other ATMs (sponsored or owned by other banks) to pull out their money = these type of “runs” destabilize the banking system. Extreme cases lead to situation like Cyprus-Banking crisis.

Mock Questions


  1. Who among the following can operate White label ATMs?
    1. Nationalized Banks
    2. Scheduled Commercial Banks
    3. Retail Banks
    4. None of above.
  2. What is “Indicash” ATM?
    1. Brown label ATM chain under Indus Bank
    2. Brown label ATM chain under Bank of India.
    3. White label ATM chain owned and operated by Tata
    4. White label ATM chain owned and operated by Prizm payments
  3. Correct statements about White label ATMs
    1. RBI permits non-bank entities to setup White Label ATMs under Banking regulation Act.
    2. Only Non-Banking financial companies with 15 years of experience can open White label ATMs.
    3. In case of failed transaction, the complaint is automatically sent to Banking Ombudsman.
    4. None of above.
  4. Correct statements about White label ATMs
    1. Company has to open 2/3rd of its ATM in areas having tier 3 to tier 6 level population.
    2. Before opening such booths in rural areas, the company has to get permission from NABARD.
    3. Both 1 and 2
    4. Neither 1 nor 2
  5. Incorrect statements about White label ATMs
    1. The operator company is required to maintain SLR and CRR reserves similar to a scheduled commercial bank.
    2. To prevent conflict of interest, RBI has forbidden White label companies from providing Value added services in such booths.
    3. Both 1 and 2
    4. Neither 1 nor 2
  6. What is the role of a Sponsor bank in White label ATM system?
    1. provide maintanance and service to the equipment
    2. provide cash to the equipment
    3. both 1 and 2
    4. Neither 1 nor 2
  7. Suppose RBI rules require the company to open ATMs in Urban: Rural areas in the ratio of 5:9. If Muthoot Finance owns total 3500 ATMs, how many of them are located in the rural areas?
    1. 225
    2. 1250
    3. 2250
    4. None of above
  8. Suppose RBI rules require the company to open ATMs in Urban: Rural areas in the ratio of 1:1,at the end of the given year. In January 2014 Muthoot Finance owns total 3000 ATMs but its rural:urban ratio is 8:7. So, by 31st December 2014, How many new rural ATMs should they open to comply with RBI’s rules?
    1. 400
    2. 300
    3. 200
    4. none of above
  9. The ratio of Indicash White label ATMs in urban: rural areas is 4:5. If Indiacash opened 360 new ATMs each in both urban and rural areas, then ratio will be 7:8. So, originally, how many ATMs did Indicash have in rural areas?
    1. 640
    2. 560
    3. 600
    4. None of Above
  10. The ratio of Indicash’s urban:rural ATMs is 3:2 and total number of ATMs is 600. If Indicash wants to change this ratio to 7:3, what should it do?
    1. Add 200 ATMs in rural area
    2. Add 200 ATMs in urban area
    3. Add 200 ATMs each in both rural and urban areas
    4. None of above


  1. Despites certain risks and limitations, the White label ATM has a potential role in financial inclusion. Elaborate. (10m | 200 words)
  2. Define White label ATM. What are its features, advantages and limitations? (10m | 200 words)
  3. What are the differences between White label and Brown Label ATM? (5m | 100 words)

Visit Mrunal.org/Economy For more on Economy.