• There are several highly contested claims as to who originally invented the Automatic Teller Machine.
• One version is that the ATM machine was invented by Luther George Simijan, a US inventor, back in 1939. However, it was mechanical and not electronic.
• His machine was removed from City Bank in New York after six months because the only people using the machines were prostitutes and gamblers who didn’t want to deal with tellers face to face.
• The first automated, electronic banking machine was introduced in 1969 by Donald Wetzel, a former pro baseball player. It was the first machine to read and use the magnetic stripe on plastic bankcards.
• The use of ATMs really started to take hold around 1973, when 2,000 machines were sold and installed in the United States. The original price tag was $145,000! These days, an ATM machine costs less than $3,000!
• ATMs became ubiquitously accepted in 1977, when the chairman of Citibank took a huge gamble and spent $100 million to install the machines all over New York City.
There’s a new ATM installed somewhere every five minutes.
• When ATMs first gained widespread popularity, it was predicted the number of bank tellers would decline. In fact, in 1985 there were 484,000 tellers in the U.S. and today there are about 550,000.
• The U.S. has more ATMs than any other nation. Now, it’s estimated there are approximately 371,000 ATMs in the United States.
• It’s not just big banks but ISO’s – Independent Sales Organizations – that are adding new ATMs. In fact, ISO’s represent about 60% in the marketplace today!