Happy 50th Birthday to the Cash Machine

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ATM (Automated Teller Machines) or ‘Cash Points’ as we tend to call them in the UK, are 50 years old today! They’re something you’ll find on just about every street with a shop in it as well as inside everywhere from convenience stores to casinos and cruise ships to cinemas.

The first cash point in the world was installed by Barclays Bank in its Enfield Town branch on the 27th of June, 1967, although cash was withdrawn by inserting a printed cheque – PIN numbers came along a little later as did plastic debit and credit cards as a means of identification to an ATM.

“Despite the headlines hailing the death of coins and notes, the truth is that cash isn’t dying, it’s transforming. Like the ATM, technology is democratising cash – developing more convenient and faster ways for consumers and businesses to choose how they spend their money. The introduction of the ATM 50 years ago was just the first step in technology shaping consumer attitudes towards money. Now, we are seeing cash and digital merge.”
– Udo Müller, Chief Executive Officer, Paysafecard (Paysafe Group)

Far from becoming obsolete with the introduction of mobile payments, banks recognise the absolute necessity of access to actual cash. NatWest have their ‘Get Cash‘ service which lets you withdraw up to £130 per day if you lose your card or have left your wallet at home. All you need is your mobile phone with the NatWest banking app installed.

This tends to suggest that even with tap and go contactless payments on our mobiles, whether from Android Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal etc, there are still plenty of places that don’t accept cards (or contactless) payments and cash is still king.

Will we ever get to be a truly cashless society? Perhaps in another 50 year’s time the ATM will have been consighed to history, but for the next few years cash will still be king and the one form of payment that is accepted (almost) everywhere.


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