Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) dispense cash, take deposits, and perform other limited banking functions 24×7.

In 1964, James Goodfellow patented and created a machine that used a punched card combined with a secret PIN. He built this out into a full-fledged ATM, filing a patent on May 2, 1966. Later ATM makers, including NCR, licensed his patents. Luther Simjian has represented he invented the ATM earlier, in 1939, and there are press reports of his “Bankograph” machine being used in NYC in 1961. However, his system was more of a vending machine than an ATM.

On June 27, 1967, Barclays Bank demonstrated the first use of an ATM. It used special checks for security. No sooner did Barclays attract attention than, within a month, two other banks demonstrated ATMs. Both used entirely different systems. Some literature posits that the Barclays claim is false and that the system never worked. They claim it was Midland Bank, using equipment made by Chubb, that deployed the first real ATM on July 31, 1967.

Eventually, by the early 1970s, there were countless different ATM’s, with many claiming they were the first. Different firms applied for various patents, with none locking in the entire innovation.

In 1973, the US granted a patent to Donald Wetzel of Docutel. Significantly, Wetzel’s Docutel machine networked, making it more useful than prior single-bank machines. Additionally, it also accepted deposits. However, Docutel machines were expensive, clunky, and used a proprietary stripe so the cards did not work with other ATM’s: by the 1980s the company was out of business. Today there are dozens of ATM manufacturers.

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