Most of us have interacted with the ubiquitous automated teller machine or “ATM.” In Spite of its significance, the history of the ATM is obscure, at best, for the majority of us.
Luther George Simjian (1905-1997), is credited with inventing the first ATM. When Simjian initially came up with the idea of creating a hole in the wall machine that would allow customers to make financial transactions, the idea was met with a great deal of skepticism. In 1939, Simjian persuaded what is now Citicorp to trial the machine. Six months later, the bank saw that there was little demand and promptly ended the trial.
The first ATM was set up in London at a branch of Barclays bank.
In June 1967 the first ATM was set up in London at a branch of Barclays bank. John Shepherd-Barron, a British inventor, is credited with its invention. The machine allowed customers to withdraw up to GBP10 per transaction. The story goes that Mr. Shepherd-Barron saw vending machines selling chocolate bars and wondered why a similar machine couldn’t be created to dispense cash.
The ATM made its way to the USA in 1969, when Dallas based engineer Donald Wetzel led the development of the ATM resulting in the country’s first machine being installed at the Chemical Bank branch in Rockville Center, New York.
In 1970, just a few years after the introduction of the ATM, James Goodfellow, a British engineer, created the first personal identification number “PIN” that could be stored on bank cards. This marked a pivotal moment in the growth and proliferation of the ATM, as it allowed machines to verify the identity of a customer without human intervention.