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The automated teller machine (ATM) had its golden anniversary in June this year.
In celebration, British bank Barclays [BAHRK-lees] turned the first original ATM into gold. Likewise, the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) organized exhibits of ATM memorabilia. They invited companies to share things like old ATM technology and photos. The items were showcased in different conferences in the United States and Europe.
Barclays inaugurated the first ATM in Enfield, London on June 27, 1967. The concept of a cash-dispensing machine is attributed to John Shepherd-Barron, who initially thought of creating a chocolate bar dispenser. From there, he thought of building a machine that could dispense cash even past banking hours. He then pitched his idea to Barclays’ chief general manager.
Shepherd-Barron continued to develop the ATM by adding the PIN feature. ATM users had to insert a check into the machine and input the PIN that matched the check. Later on, the magnetic-stripe card replaced the check for security reasons.
According to Bank of England’s chief cashier Victoria Cleland, 94% of adults in the UK still use ATMs. This is why she believes that they are not going to discontinue cash anytime soon. For the same reason, the Bank still included cash in their future plans.
Despite ATMs’ popularity, some countries have been considering the switch to a cashless economy. In India, for example, there have been talks about creating a cashless economy similar to Sweden’s.
Yet critics have pointed out downsides to this. Senior citizens and the lower class might not have access to mobile banking. Another thing is the possible increase in fraud cases. Furthermore, cashless societies allow more government control over citizens and their personal information.