ATM's 50th birthday: From Latin to overdraft warnings, six surprising ways cash machines will be used in the future

 
Oliver Gill
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Barclays launched the world's cash machine in 1967 (Source: Getty)

Whether it is actor David Jason, cricketer Mike Gatting, pop duo Chas and Dave or even poet John Keats; a lot of a famous people hail from Enfield.

And another thing born in the north London borough is the UK’s first cash machine. Today marks its 50th birthday with the first ever ATM put in Barclays' high street branch on 27 June 1967.

Lu Zurawski, consumer payments lead EMEA, ACI Worldwide said:

Although consumers today are using more cards and apps, enduring customer behaviours and the ubiquity of cash will secure the role of the ATM as a cash machine for decades to come.

The role of ATMs will continue to expand beyond cash too, so I believe the ATM has got a long and innovative life ahead.

So what will the next 50 years bring?

Read more: City of London policy chair to take up role at UK cash machine firm

1 – Middle ground

With many UK banks closing branches, ATMs can be the middle-ground approach between empty buildings or no contact at all, according to Auriga banking technology expert Mark Aldred.

“A combination of self-service machines and staff could be the ticket to reviving a dwindling supply of bank branches”, said Aldred.

“Brits still love their cash machines – 43 per cent of Britons still use an ATM on a weekly basis.”

2 – Cards as well as cash

Losing your bank cards can be a real pain. And according to a YouGov poll, many people (29 per cent of more than 8,000 respondents) would like ATMs to go beyond simply issuing cash and be a means to obtain a new card.

3 – ***Watch out: you have breached your overdraft***

More than a fifth of respondents (21 per cent) to the same YouGov poll said they’d like ATMs to give them more information about their account, for example: mini-statements, alerts for upcoming payments or overdraft fees.

Read more: This local currency now has an ATM

4 – Can you speak Latin?

Since hitting the sunny streets of Enfield 50 years ago ATMs have sprung up all over the world. And they have an important role to play in countries across the world.

The world’s most northerly ATM is in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway with the southerly one in the South Pole at the McMurdo station.

Meanwhile in Vatican City there is the world's only ATM that can give instructions in Latin.

5 – More than a pin

Returning to the YouGov poll, 29 per cent of UK respondents said they would like to see ATMs to offer better and more secure means of authentication. So perhaps it will be out with the pin number and in with finger pad or retina profiling technology?

Read more: The government is quietly planning for "smart cash machines"

6 – Cash is king

Boffins from technology behemoth Accenture are convinced ATMs are here to stay.

Jeremy Light, a managing director of payments at the consultancy said: “The ATM is changing, as it takes on a new role to complement online banking. Donating to charity, buying stamps or even applying for a credit card are all possible and may come to your local ATM.

Smarter technology means ATMs are more secure and versatile today, for example cash withdrawals using a mobile phone instead of a card. ATMs perform an important role in the UK economy and maintain customer interactions with a bank.

Perhaps cash will always be king.

Read more: MPs criticise RBS and Lloyds for poor cash machine access

Did you know? Some facts about ATMs

  • There are 70,000 ATMs in the UK
  • Today, 92 per cent of all £10 notes in circulation are acquired through ATMs
  • The first drive-thru cash machine in the UK was opened on 22 May 1998 at Hatton Cross, near Heathrow Airport by Cheryl Baker, TV presenter
  • The idea of a cash machine was first thought up by Turkish born inventor Luther George Simjian in 1939, but it never got off the ground
  • China did not install their first ATM until 1987

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