A milestone in engineering and development has been passed, with today, the 27th of June marking fifty years since the first cash machine was used. Despite the developments in technology and the introduction of online payment systems such as PayPal and Bitcoin as well as the earlier introduction of the chip and pin, cash still plays a part in most of our day to day lives. Research has found that 94% of UK adults use cash machines, a momentous figure as the first ATM was put into operation at a Barclays branch in Enfield in London. There is an ATM still at the Enfield branch of Barclays and in order to celebrate this anniversary, the bank has transformed the cash machine so it is gold.
Victoria Cleland, the is the Director for Banknotes and the Chief Cashier for the Bank of England. She has been working in this role since 2014, and is only the second woman to hold this position. The figures have shown that although more than half of the adults in the UK use an ATM at least once a week , the number of transactions that take place with coins and notes are falling. Despite this a number of banks are still looking to include cash in their plans for the future.
Cash holds importance for being a store of value which is is also important going forward. The Head of Customer Experience at Barclays, Raheel Ahmed has also expressed the same opinion as Victoria Cleland. Even though online, instant and digital payments and banking have started to change the way transactions and banking services take place, cash is still a vital aspect of many people’s day to day lives.
The first ATM was inspired by a vending machine, with the Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron wanting to create a machine that would allow him to gain access to his own money from everywhere. He the progressed to thinking about a machine that gives out chocolate, but the candy being replaced with money. Barclays bought into the idea and the ATM idea was conceived.
It wasn’t plain sailing to begin with, one of the first machines to be installed in Zurich experienced a strange malfunction, later found to be the interference from two intersecting tramlines that were close to the location of the cash machine. It is thought that today there are more than 70,000 cash machines across the UK, accessible by 176 million cards.