Automated teller machines, commonly referred to as ATMs, have now been in existance for over 50 years. During this time a lot has changed, yet one thing has remained the same, they continue to be one of the most commons ways in which people interact with their funds and financial institution. While you are likely fully aware of just how integral ATMs are in society, chances are that you do not know very much about their history.
Most people do not realize just how long ATMs have been around. They actually first hit the market in London in 1967. Just two years later they made their first appearance in the United States. Chemical Bank, located in Long Island, NY, is the first bank known to install an ATM at their location. At this time they were not able to service anyone other than those who held an account with their bank. In fact, that remained to be the case for over a decade. They also were walk-up machines that were often inside a lobby like area to protect them from the elements.
It is believed that the first drive-up ATM was installed and put to use in 1980. This is recorded by one of the first manufacturers of ATMs, NCR. They boast that they installed the first ATM of this kind in Baton Rouge, LA. They also report that to this day the United States accounts for over 90% of their drive up ATM sales. They believe that this reflects the car based society of the country when compared to other countries around the world, who typically use walk-up machines in urban areas.
In the beginning of the growth of these machines, their essential function was to allow people access to their funds outside of normal business hours. They had to go to a branch of their bank in order to retrieve funds from their account. By the late 70s they began to be able to coordinate the use across bank brands, making this technology far more effective and useful. It made it possible for people to access their money from around the country and then around the world. With this advance in conjunction with the ability to drive right up to the machine, very quickly ATMs became a staple of a typical American bank.
Since the 80s the options offered at an ATM have only continued to expand. Many can now accept check deposits that are applied immediately to the account. Some banks had entertained a variety of options that are no longer in use, such as dispensing movie tickets, stamps and gift cards. The changes are sure to continue as the banking industry continues to evolve with changing technology.
One thing is for sure, ATMs have become one of the most popular means of interacting with financial institutions. Where the technology will take us is anyone’s guess, but it is likely that there will be ATMs in our lives for many years to come. The interesting thing will be what they can do.