An unexpectedly high number of cash withdrawals made with payroll cards at its Allpoint automated teller machines drove Cardtronics Inc. into the black in the third quarter.

The Houston ATM operator reported last week net income of $6.4 million for the third quarter, compared with a $4.4 million loss a year earlier. Revenue increased 1%, to $128.6 million. It also reported 63.6 million cash withdrawals, up 8%.

Executives attributed the positive results to increased cash withdrawals with payroll cards at ATMs within its Allpoint network. Cardtronics owns Allpoint, of Bethesda, Md., which operates 35,000 surcharge-free ATMs in the United States.

"Before companies began paying employees with payroll cards, we never got their business," Rick Updyke, Cardtronics' president of global development, said during a conference call with analysts. "They would go to a check-cashing service with their paper checks."