If your ATM is simply a stand-alone cash dispenser, you’re behind the times. In the era of connected everything, an ATM should be no different. If your ATM game is stranded in antiquity, rest assured, National Cash Systems is your superhero!

Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch to call National Cash Systems—an ATM company—the Justice League. After all, no one at National Cash Systems flies, or has super strength, or can run at the speed of light, or breathe underwater, or can leap tall buildings in a single bound—at least to our knowledge, anyway.

But when you dig a bit deeper at the actual definition of “superhero,” there is definitely some connective tissue: “A superhero is also a person whose actions or achievements are far greater than what people expect.”

For 20 years, National Cash Systems has aimed to do just that, in the gentlemen’s club industry and beyond. Their combination round-the-clock service, flexible end-to-end solutions and presence on the cutting edge of technology has allowed them to come to the rescue of thousands of businesses across the country over the past two decades.

ED Publications had the opportunity to speak with National Cash Systems’ President, Judi Suzuki, about the “superhero” approach to customer service they provide to this industry’s club owners and operators, as well as the present—and perhaps more importantly, the future—of ATM machines in the gentlemen’s club industry.

ED: You’ve worked with gentlemen’s club operators for almost two decades. Does knowing this industry help you solve problems club owners/operators may face?

SUZUKI: We love working with these club operators! They all have great congenial personalities, and it is refreshing. We understand the dynamics of the club business with regard to having multiple types of payment processing and cash options, and the importance of providing fast and efficient service if an ATM is down. National Cash Systems has serviced 24-hour operations such as casinos, with some of these locations dispensing millions of dollars a month. This has helped us be cognizant of how important it is to service customers no matter how large or small, and no matter what time of day or night it is.

Our 24/7/365 call support center with live operators has worked well for these types of businesses as we are able to service our customers more efficiently and effectively than other ATM providers, getting terminals back up and running in no time. Our after-hours support is always answered with a live operator, our customers will never get a voicemail.

ED: Providing a “superhero” level of customer service is obviously very important to your company’s culture. How is your staff structured, and how does it help you deliver this level of service to your clients?

SUZUKI: Our corporate culture is family oriented, very friendly, somewhat relaxed but at the same time very structured in our regular meetings and maintaining strict KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Being in a labor-intensive environment where stellar service is critical to efficient operations, our philosophy is to always be proactive and on the offense. We have serviced some clubs now for almost 20 years, many of whom we know by first name and vice versa. We send out handwritten birthday cards, discounts for continued business, and little Christmas gifts for tokens of our appreciation. Our warm, family friendliness and personalized service has built a bond and level of trust with the club operators. They know who to call when they need something, because they know it will get done.

ED: The economy and the businesses you work with have evolved quite a bit over the past 20 years. How has National Cash Systems, and the products and services you offer, kept up with this evolution?

SUZUKI: As the economy and competitive payment processing landscape has changed over the years, we’ve had to make continual adjustments in our business and marketing plan to stay ahead of the competition. The adjustments we made were adding new products and services to diversify our revenue streams outside of just ATM transaction-based revenue.

We now provide multiple forms of payment processing solutions from POS systems, merchant terminals, CCA & DCA (credit card and debit card cash advances), check cashing solutions, DCC (dynamic currency conversion) and now Bitcoin solutions.

We participate in industry conferences and workshops to stay current with today’s challenges, which helps us to be on the forefront of future opportunities and trends. Crypto has been in the market for some time. Within the last two years, Bitcoin manufacturers and marketers have wanted to partner with National Cash Systems. Bitcoin is considered a form of digital asset, with its technology incorporated into ATM hardware and software. It’s distribution channels being in sync with National Cash Systems target markets made it a no-brainer for us to partner with these groups.

The bottom line is, the more ancillary products and services that we can offer our existing and future clients, the greater the impact we will have all around. National Cash will have greater longevity with our clubs; clubs will become more appealing to existing and new customers; and its customers will have more cash access options available thus enhancing their user experience. This in turn results in increased spending and increasing bottom line profits for the clubs. It’s a win-win solution.

ED: Why should club owners/operators choose you over the competition? What specifically grants National Cash Systems the advantage?

SUZUKI: National Cash Systems has been a registered Independent Sales Organization (ISO) for 20 years. Only when registered can an ATM company be direct with the card associations, processors, networks, and have direct contracts with the manufacturers. Registered ISOs have to be approved by a sponsoring bank. We have been approved by sponsoring banks since 1998.

Many ATM companies operate as non-registered ISOs. These companies are considered “affiliates.” They are not registered, do not have a sponsoring bank, do not have direct contracts with the card associations or processors. They have to go through an ISO like National Cash Systems, which means they are like a middle man. Affiliates generally have insufficient resources, are run by one man or “two guys and a dog” operating out of their garage.

Being a registered ISO in good standing for 20 years, we can buy in bulk, have efficient production, capitalize on greater interchange revenue and tiered processor pricing, experience reduction in logistic costs, and have access to cheaper capital. All these factors allow us to have better pricing models than affiliates. These savings are passed back to the club operators again increasing the club’s bottom-line profits.

ED: In your experience, what’s the most common surcharge/fee charged by adult nightclub ATMs?

SUZUKI: Depending on the jurisdiction, some clubs can charge a percentage of the transaction amount, some we have that are charging 20% of what is withdrawn. We have clubs that have a percentage with a flat fee, whichever is higher. Most common is in the $5 to $7 range.

ED: Is there a difference in what I can get if I’m a quaint club owner or in charge of a multi-million-dollar chain of clubs?

SUZUKI: There is no difference when it comes to providing the same respect and quality customer support in both scenarios. However, for the club chains, we can evaluate their entire portfolio of payment processing systems to identify total volume of terminals, transactions, cost, revenues and expenses. Club chains that have multiple terminals will generally have the economies of scale due to their significant volume, thus it typically justifies a different profit payout structure to them.

ED: What are the advantages of having you as the single provider of services like the ATM and payment processing versus getting these services from various vendors?

SUZUKI: The advantages are they deal with one company, through one web portal and all services on one statement. No need to call various payment processors and/or companies for support. In this day and age, it’s all about efficiency. Having to deal with multiple sources requires far more management time and effort, especially if multiple vendors need to synchronize in deliveries or software and/or hardware updates. Dealing with us as a single source, it makes it easier and faster to collaborate through issues and a single relationship is easier to establish and maintain, with one phone call to one single source of contact. As a single-source provider we can help save costs by cutting down additional charges and offer more competitive bundled pricing models which in turn makes the clubs more money.

ED: What do you see as the future of cryptocurrencies and how that will impact gentlemen’s clubs?

SUZUKI: Cryptocurrency is unpredictable and not yet in mainstream adoption. Worldwide, regulators are increasing their involvement for consumer protection and in preventing cyber crime. I believe there will remain perhaps one or just a few cryptocurrencies, with, in my opinion, most or all of the current altcoins disappearing.

I do not know what the future market holds in terms of how Bitcoin or crypto payments will be handled. However, we need to continually be kept informed of the progress that regulators are making and the evolution of crypto payments in order to make better decisions with how and what we should provide in terms of these type of payment solutions. There will also be continual hardware and software adjustments in order to keep up to date with evolving technology and legislation.

ED: What would you tell club owners/operators who may be wary of cryptocurrency?

SUZUKI: At the time of this interview crypto has experienced a downhill trend which makes it difficult to talk about positive outlooks and future projections. Crypto is unregulated with a lot of existing government and scalability challenges. However, despite all the challenges, once all barriers are eliminated I believe crypto will experience widespread adoption. Bitcoin hardware and software are provided at no cost. It is entirely 100% risk-free in this model. We have terminals that are 100% self-serve, with no cashier or club involvement. Club operators have the option to purchase their own terminal and the only risk would be their initial upfront hardware investment. The other option is to interface the Bitcoin software on existing ATM and POS hardware, which in this case there is no initial investment whatsoever therefore no financial risk at all.

ED: The superhero/comic book angle is incredibly neat—how did that come about? Why superheroes?

SUZUKI: Superhero movies are in! This idea actually initiated back in 2001 when we contracted with a web design company in San Diego. While deciding on which company to go with, we stumbled across their ‘about us’ page which caught our eye. All of the team members were animated superhero type characters, and I remember it to this day!
Instead of seeing boring headshots of team members in their formal business suit and ties, they engaged us with their incredibly creative, eye-catching animated images. They each also had fun stats showing their personalities, making them relatable and approachable. We also have been the contracted ATM company that provides ATMs for the well-known Comic-Con events which further strengthened this idea.

Hence, during a marketing meeting we decided to refresh our boring corporate look that we’ve had for 20 years and give ourselves a fresh, new appeal. As we are beginning to exit the millennial age and enter Gen Z, in the same way technology is advancing rapidly, we need to be up to speed with what appeals to our current generation. We felt that by giving our company a fresh look, we will appeal to millennials and Gen Z executives and decision makers. Yes, we still deal with existing club operators that are baby boomers and Gen X. As for the comic-book visual approach, comics were first seen in the 19th century—so it’s clear that every generation loves comics!

For more information, visit nationalcash.com or call (888) 642-2274.

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