Cardtronics Inc. swung to a profit in the fourth quarter as consumers kept their credit cards in their wallets and relied instead on debit cards and cash.

The Houston automated teller machine operator last week reported net income of $1.5 million in the quarter, compared with a $58.4 million net loss a year earlier. Revenue was $122 million, up 7%.

Rick Updyke, Cardtronics' president of global development, said during a conference call with analysts that people had withdrawn $61.2 million using its ATMs, up 6.3%. Monthly withdrawals per machine averaged $615, up 7.7%.

Cardtronics is benefiting from a greater use of cash, payroll cards, general-purpose prepaid cards and electronic benefits transfer cards, Updyke said. "The cards have brought us new customers who don't have bank accounts," he said. "There is a shift from credit cards to debit cards and cash."

For the full year, Cardtronics reported $5.2 million in net income, compared with a net loss of $71.4 million in 2008. Revenue totaled $483.1 million, up 1.5%.

At the end of 2009, Cardtronics operated 33,156 ATMs in the United States, United Kingdom and Mexico, compared to 33,064 a year earlier.

During the quarter, Cardtronics introduced a managed-services business to handle companies' ATMs and process the transactions. The American Airlines Center in Dallas and Carnival Cruise Lines were Cardtronics' first two clients. It also is discussing managed ATM services with banks and retailers Updyke did not name.

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