ATM Leasing and Sales

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Q.) A friend of mine is in ATM (Automatic teller machine) business. Actually, he is an independent contractor. As you notice, ATM machines are available in convenience stores, bus stops, and other public places etc., in U.S.A. These are not necessarily installed by Commercial Banks. There are leasing companies which most of the times install the machine for free. There is a charge which customer pays while withdrawing his or her money from checking and or credit card account. This money is split between leasing company, processing company (which process transactions) and the client (who provides place for ATM machine).

My friend is only entitled to get his commission for providing the clients who let these companies install their machines at their sites. Apparently he is not working for a bank. According to him, they just provide service/convenience to the account holder who by using their service may save time to go to his bank for withdrawing his or her money. There is no element of interest (riba) involved. There are service charges only. He would like to know; Is his earning Halal or not. Should he continue working as Independent contractor for such leasing/sale companies on commission basis or not. He is highly paid. He has spent about 3 years working for such companies. Would you please ask our respected scholar Maulana Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani to answer this very important question? To my understanding, he is one of those Scholars who know about Banking and about ATM (Automatic tellers machines). Thanks and best regards. Jazak Allah Khair. H.A.SAEED (U.S.A.)

A.) The service provided by the ATM is not Haram. The amount charged from the customer is a service charge and not an interest. Your friend acts as a Mediator or as a Broker for the installing company to find out persons who can provide their sites for the installation of machines, meaning thereby that the installing company hires the place of these clients and your friend acts as a Broker for this hiring transaction. Since the ATM service and the hiring transaction is effected between installing company and the clients, both are Halal transactions. Your friend may act as a Broker or as a Commission Agent for the installing company for this restricted purpose. His income derived through commission charged by him from the installing company is also Halal.