The first ATM, or Automatic Telling Machine, was installed not by one of the big banks but by the Queensland Teachers Credit Union on St Paul’s Terrace, Fortitude Valley. In a time when banks closed at 3pm on most weekdays, access to money after hours was a boon.
An early ATM system installed by the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney swallowed the card and when the customer entered the correct “combination” – a six-digit number – it disgorged $25. That was obviously estimated to be enough to see you through the weekend, or any unforeseen emergency. The card was not returned by the machine but sent back to the customer by “the fastest possible method”. This machine was really only a cash dispenser and was only available to customers with cheque accounts. The first of these machines, designed by John Shepherd Batton, was installed in a branch of Barclays Bank in Enfield, north London, in 1967.
The first computerised ATM in the world was introduced by Lloyds Bank in the UK in December 1972. The machine was linked to a central computerised accounting system which could identify the customer using the card’s magnetic stripe and a PIN number. It could check the balance, give out variable amounts of cash and report the transaction to the bank’s computer system. It was developed in partnership with IBM. The PIN (Personal Identification Number) was invented by a Scot, James Goodfellow, in 1965.