On 27th June 1967, the world’s first semi-automated cash dispenserElectronic device that, primarily dispenses cash after identification of the user, using a payment card or another device such as a mobile phone or biometric identification. See ATM. More – later to be known as the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) – was unveiled by Barclays Bank at its North London Branch in Enfield.
Fifty-four years later, this humble machine can now be found at over 3.2 million locations around the world, with many having transformed into sophisticated deposit-taking, cashMoney in physical form such as banknotes and coins. More recyclingThe process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. Banknotes are increasingly recycled after destruction, and the waste is often used for landfills, isolation material etc. Polymer notes are melted into pellets which are recycled into new products. Recycling is often incorrectly used instead of recirculation. See Recirculation. More, currencyThe money used in a particular country at a particular time, like dollar, yen, euro, etc., consisting of banknotes and coins, that does not require endorsement as a medium of exchange. More converting, video-linked financial services hubs capable of replacing bank branches. Despite recent closures, the overall number is growing.
“Some of these ATMs are pretty extreme,” said James Shepherd-Barron, son of the ATM’s ‘inventor’ and founder of The ATM Appreciation Society. “Did you know,” he said by way of example, “that the world’s smallest ATM is on a Bagel stall in New York City? Or that the world’s ‘wettest’ is in County Cork, Ireland and that floating ATMs are used in flood relief operations in Pakistan? Did you know that ATMs contain up to 32 sensorsDevices capable of detecting specific physical properties of banknotes. More, some of which are capable of monitoring behavioural biometrics to the point that kidnapping can be thwarted? Or that they can be used to predict the spread of communicable diseases such as Covid-19?”
“Half the world’s adult population is forced to rely on cash,” he went on. “To many of them, the ATM is not a luxury; it is indispensable. Yet, at the same time, it is so under-appreciated. We walk past them every day but don’t stop to reflect on how crucial they are to the way most of the world still lives.”
The ATM Appreciation Society was formed to celebrate the world’s original ‘FinTech’, the ATM. Its manifesto describes ATMs as “financial poetry which should be universally accessible to all regardless of faith, colour, creed, caste, stature, sexual orientation, mobile phone ownership, bank account status, creditworthiness, or any other discriminator.”
“I founded The ATM Appreciation Society to celebrate what is actually the world’s original ‘fintech’ and to highlight the pivotal role cash machines play in reducing disaster risk and enhancing financial inclusionA process by which individuals and businesses can access appropriate, affordable, and timely financial products and services. These include banking, loan, equity, and insurance products. While it is recognised that not all individuals need or want financial services, the goal of financial inclusion is to remove all barriers, both supply side and demand side. Supply side barriers stem from financial institutions themselves. They often indicate poor financial infrastructure, and include lack of ne... More. I also wanted to highlight the awesome technologies involved, not just in the machine but in the cash it contains.” said James.
Given that the ATM has a crucial role to play in combatting financial exclusion and enhancing financial inclusion, what better way to celebrate its existence than by having a birthday party every year on 27th June where we can announce that year’s ‘Most Extreme ATM’?
Of the 3 million ATMs around the world, some of them can be found in the most unexpected and extreme locations such as in nuclear-powered submarines. Or in royal palaces. Or church organs.
Others are just weird, having been dressed up to look like cupcakes. Or pink pigs.
Click here to cast your votes! The winner will be announced next year, 27 June 2022.