The first ever self-service bank system was introduced to the American public way back in 1939. It was the Bankograph and was invented by a gentleman named Luther George Simjian. It did not, however, spit out money like today’s ATM machines but instead would accept deposits in the form of checks, cash, or even coins. It was only available at City Bank of New York and became an undesirable part of the landscape during the Great Depression, resulting in its removal. Why? Well, understandably, New Yorkers at the time didn’t trust robots that ate what was left of their money.
So, fast forward to 1967 when London's Barclays Bank was the first to introduce cash-dispensing ATM machines and an entirely new industry was born, Today, the result is that ATMs are literally everywhere to the tune of three million of them worldwide. In fact, there’s even an ATM machine in the Himalayas on a mountaintop. And, did you know that the southernmost ATM machine in the world can be found at McMurdo Station in Antarctica?
Today, most ATM machines are routinely performing automated financial transactions that nobody could have ever imagined 50 years ago. And, here are five of those technological advances in ATM machines that perhaps you weren’t aware of but probably should’ve noticed:
Gold to Go
Until fairly recently, the only gold-dispensing ATM machines in the world were in Dubai. But more recently, Europe and the Middle East have had ATM machines that are capable of dispensing both gold coins and gold bars for a few years. And now, some ATM machines that dispense gold are also available in Florida as well. The machines are made by PMX Gold and are called "Gold to Go" machines. The most recent one was installed in Boca Raton’s Town Center Mall and it is also constantly checking the current gold price and adjusting the exchange rate every 90-seconds.
Withdrawal Control Button
A recent Wells Fargo introduction is a button on its ATM machines allowing bank customers the opportunity for setting a monthly target for themselves for withdrawals. And, every time they make a withdrawal, they’ll see just how close they’re getting to that target amount. Of course, in the event that they exceed their targeted amount, they’re still able to withdraw funds. The system is meant to track customers’ money for them, not stop them from making withdrawals, and they can also receive a 12-month average. Now, keeping track of things is a whole lot easier.
A better-known recent innovation in ATM machines is the intelligent deposit system. With it, customers don’t have to have an envelope or a pen. They can now put bills or checks straight into the ATM with no envelope required. Bank of America’s ad campaigns were responsible for introducing this new innovation to the public and now the systems are being ordered by numerous major banks. The demand for intelligent deposit systems has, in fact, been responsible for net revenues to its manufacturer, Diebold, of $46.1 million during the third quarter although they posted a $7 million loss for the same period the previous year.
Along with the ATM machine innovations that allow customers to deposit cash without using an envelope, many banks are also using systems for recycling and using that cash during that same day that it's deposited. The use of such systems results in higher security and lower costs. They're especially popular with banks in China and Russia. The main reason is that recycling cash inside the ATM means not having to call for deliveries from armored trucks nearly as often. In addition, it is said to be responsible for making banks much more efficient.
Bill Pay- Near & Far
Bill payments via ATM machines are not new. It was tried a while back in the U.S. at 7-Eleven convenience stores but it never really took off. Now, however, a more popular service is ATM machines that allow consumers to use kiosks for paying utility bills for Latin American family members. It's an easy method for Americans to help their relatives that live far away.
So, what might the future hold for advancements in ATM machines? Well, they include wireless ATM machines that will offer banks some new opportunities for increasing their number of transactions while also further automating their branches. And, advancements for owners of ATM machines include GPS ATM machine trackers for locating them in the event that brazen thieves back their pickup truck up to the ATM and drag it away. So, in the future, that trick will only work in the movies.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker