Isn’t it true that ATMs are our go-to option for withdrawing or depositing cash? Referred to as the “All-Time Money Machine,” the device is kept in a room guarded by security and can provide money 24/7. Different types of ATMs are guided by different banks; each provides the same service while having slightly different functions.

What is an ATM?

An ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine, which is a computerized device that helps bank users transact money and manage their accounts. Through an ATM, you can withdraw and deposit money, check your account balance, transfer money, or even issue your bank account statement.

An important element required to access an ATM is a debit card, also called an ATM card. Banks provide the card when you open your account with them, which you can insert into an ATM anytime to receive the banking services mentioned above.

How are ATMs Programmed to Function?

ATMs can very well be called communication devices. They are connected to multiple input and output devices, which communicate and transfer data through a host processor. The host processor is connected to a network via an ISP (Internet Service Provider), through which ATM services become available to users. An ATM can either be bank-owned or merchant-owned, depending on the owner of the host processor; it can either be owned by a bank or an individual service provider.

The Automated Teller Machine uses embedded system programming to function. While an ATM program in C is written in the C programming language, other languages are also used to suit the purpose and functioning of the device. The C programming language is applied because it makes reading and understanding the user instructions easy.

History of the ATM

There is no exclusive inventor of the ATM. However, the 1960s are regarded as the decade that saw the development of ATM technology. In June 1967, the first-ever ATM was set up in a branch of the Barclays Bank in Enfield, London. Its development is credited to the British inventor, John Shepherd-Barron. The machine allowed only a limited withdrawal of cash at one go.

During this period, the United States also tried to develop its own ATMs. The first ATM was set up in the US in September 1969 at the Chemical Bank branch in Rockville Center, New York. Its service started on September 2nd at 9 am. These early machines did not have so many functions, and neither did they use a PIN. It was only in 1970 that James Goodfellow, a British engineer, proposed a personal identification number (PIN).

After 1970, the popularity, use, and technology began to gain traction. By the end of 1971, 1000 ATMs had been deployed, and Citibank invested more than $100 million in 1977  to install ATMs across New York City in the United States. Throughout the 1970s, new and advanced ATMs that were user-friendly, secure, and flexible were introduced.

The tally of ATMs in 1984 was recorded as being 100,000 worldwide. Since then, the ATM has been seen as one of the easiest ways to do banking. Reports show that more than three million ATMs were functioning across the world by 2018, and the retail banking research suggested this figure would cross four million by 2021.

The Impact of the ATM on the Perception of Money

ATMs crossed their 50th year in 2017. The use of ATMs, considered a part of our daily lives now, was once new to humanity. Its advancement, approach, and usability coursed through its initial years of existence. The way banks interacted with their customers drastically changed as more and more people adopted the use of ATMs.

ATMs give people a certain amount of independence in handling money. People’s perception of money changed when they no longer had to stand in long queues to withdraw money. Besides, the 24/7 service of ATMs has increased the availability of money to an amazing extent. Whether for emergency purposes or personal use, people could easily access their money.   

Due to the installation of ATMs, banks’ identities have become more prominent as brands. People connected more with the bank’s brand than with their branches. This eradicated the idea of relating banks to a particular branch or human being and made it universal, or broad. In the early 2000s, ATMs started providing new services that added to their flexibility. The Economic Times reported that some ATMs provide unique options for paying bills, income taxes, or even applying for loans. 

Although the 21st century saw a lot of ATM frauds, and presently, the online modes of banking are gaining more popularity,  a large number of people still use ATMs for their cash needs. The continued efforts of banks and engineers to upgrade the services of ATMs make them a viable option even in the future.

ATMs have radically changed the way people perceive money and banks. They are devices capable of providing you with your saved money at any point in time. Thanks to continuous technological inventions, ATMs now let us withdraw and deposit money, transfer funds, pay bills, and print recent transaction lists. Moreover, they are programmed to be user-friendly, which makes it easy for any account holder to use. And, as new breakthroughs emerge, both the hardware and software of ATMs are programmed to improve for future customers’ use.

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