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ATMs Turn 50 Years Old

Can you imagine the world without cell phones or without automobiles? How about without ATM machines? Few inventions have changed the world and impacted our daily lives as much as the humble old ATM.


Several people lay claim to the original invention of the ATM, including John Shepherd-Barron and James Goodfellow in the U.K. as well as Don Wetzel and Luther Simjian in the U.S. There are even engineering companies like De La Rue, Speytec-Burroughs, Asea-Metior, and Omron Tateisi that claim to be the masterminds behind the cash machine. 


Regardless of its' true origins, it was 50 years ago this month, on June 27, 1967, that the first ATM was opened to the public at a Barclays branch in a suburb of London.



The most successful early ATM deployments took place in Europe, where  bankers responded to increasing labor costs by soliciting engineers to develop a solution for after-hours cash distribution. This resulted in three independent efforts, each of which entered use in 1967: the Bankomat in Sweden, the Barclaycash and Chubb MD2 in the U.K. 

Nearly two years later, on December 1, 1969 24-hour access to cash came to Canada. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) unveiled the first ATM which they called the "24 hour cash dispenser". The wall-mounted CIBC machine was operated by a key, a plastic card and a personal identification number. Royal Bank (RBC) was next, when they introduced the "Bankette'" in 1972. The Toronto Dominion Bank (TD Bank) launched their first ATM program in 1976 later re-branded the machines as "Green Machine" in 1981.


A CIBC newspaper ad from January, 1970, boasted that consumers could get a whopping maximum of "$30 any time of the day or night!"  Today, the maximum amount of cash an ATM will spit out each day is based upon the daily limit on the bank account.


Happy Birthday Automated Teller Machine... looks like retirement is not happening any time soon! 



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