The History of the ATM

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The ATM, acronym for automated teller machine, was sought out in the 1950’s. There was a strong desire for the simplification of banking. As a result, Japan, UK, Sweden and U.S. made collective efforts to pursue the developments of self-service banking. One of the first machines patented and approved for use was the Bankograph invented by George Simijian in 1963. It was released on a experimental basis in New York City for less than a year due to consumer rejection. Like most innovations, there would be more versions and replications to follow. Shortly thereafter, the United Kingdom launched a cash machine in North London. An event was organized where the local celebrity comedian, Reg Varney, utilized the machine to give it more exposure and encourage use.
The early ATMs used tokens or vouchers to grant access to machines as plastic cards were not yet being used. In 1969, the Speytec cash machine changed the game. Their machines used plastic cards with a single magnetic strip. British engineer, James Goodfellow later introduced the idea of the PIN for added security to be stored on the cards.
The first official network ATM was attributed to Donald Wentzel through the Chemical Bank and was known as the Docuteller.

Soon enough, not only was the ATM accessible at or near banks, they began to appear at shopping locations, gas stations, airports or just about anywhere a large amount of people populated. Most of these ATMs are either established by banks or independent sales organizations. ATMs not established by a bank is considered a ‘White Label ATM.”

The innovation of the ATM has come a long way since the 1950’s. We can expect more advancements in the near future. Some projected advancements include cardless ATM access and live teller conferencing.

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