ATM Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. golden / ˈgoʊl dən / (adj) – being in the fiftieth year

    Our company will celebrate its golden anniversary next year.

  2. memorabilia / mɛm ər əˈbɪl i ə, -ˈbɪl yə / (n) – things that are collected because they remind someone of a person, thing, or event

    The shop owner displayed memorabilia from the early years of his business.

  3. inaugurate / ɪnˈɔ gyəˌreɪt, -gə- / (v) – to hold a ceremony and officially declare a facility or thing ready for use

    The mayor inaugurated the bank’s new branch in the city.

  4. pitch / pɪtʃ / (v) – to talk about something with the purpose of encouraging someone to buy or accept it

    Sally pitched her product proposal to her supervisor.

  5. anytime soon / ˈɛn iˌtaɪm sun / (adv) – occurring within a short period of time

    The bank said they cannot replace the old ATM anytime soon.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Give your opinion about this statement: ATMs could possibly replace physical banks and tellers in the future.
• What improvements would you like to see in your bank and its ATMs? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

• Is a cashless economy ideal? Why do you think so?
• In your opinion, how will a cashless economy be received by the people in your country? Give details.