ATMs recently celebrated a silver anniversary since the debut of the very first automated teller machine on June 27, 1967 in a Barclay’s Enfield branch in London. Scottish inventor John Steperd-Baron is credited with pioneering this self-service solution to accessing funds after bank hours. In a 2007 BBC interview, "It struck me there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the UK. I hit upon the idea of a chocolate bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash." he noted, adding that he came up with the idea in the bath.
Over the years, the proliferation of ATMs has extended well beyond the bank branch and can now be seen in shopping centers, transit stations, convenience stores, gas/petrol stations and many other high foot-traffic areas. From the northernmost in Norway to US Navy ships and even on in Antarctica, ATMs are indeed everywhere. Although there are no officially tracked statistics of the exact number of ATMs in use today, ATMIA (ATM Industry Association) estimates 1 per every 2200 people – that’s about 3.5 million ATMs worldwide!
What does the future hold for ATMs?
Danilo Rivalta, vice president of EasyBranch, the TAS Group division dedicated to branch transformation, is highly optimistic about the survival of ATMs. In an Italian radio interview with Radio Capital, Rivalta discussed how the ATM has already "transformed" over time and, in addition to the original withdrawal function for which it was born, many new services are being integrated today, like bill and tax payments, cheque scanning, money transfers and more. Also transforming is the "user experience" with the enablement of completely cardless operations. Meaning, customers can access extended ATM services without the use of the payment card through mobile authentication and/or with digital credentials. New generation ATMs and supporting software is designed to meet the habits and needs of the new generation of customers.
In the digital age the ATM becomes more intelligent.