Evolution of the ATM: WHAT WILL MY ATM DO NEXT?
The ATM – Automated Teller Machine – made its debut in 1967 at Barclays Bank in London. The first American version became available in 1969 at Chemical Bank on Long Island, NY. Initially, access was restricted to customers of the bank that owned the machine. Later, customers could access their accounts through other bank’s ATMs. The next product offering was the ability to buy postage stamps from an ATM using your debit card.
Today a new “card-less” ATM is emerging (usually denoted with a card-less symbol). Some of the larger institutions (ex: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Capital One) have developed smart phone apps (Mobile Cash) that work in much the same way that a card would. For times when you may not have your card with you (but you’re never without your phone!), simply tap the app and enter the code. The cash is yours!
One of the newest crazes is “cashless ATMs.” Cashless? ATM? How does that work?
Consumers use a debit or credit card at a special ATM terminal to withdraw “cash,” but the cash is in a voucher form and is directly credited to a merchant’s bank account. The voucher is then used to purchase merchandise. It makes cash transactions safer because the merchant doesn’t need to retain as much cash and the cash back from these transactions is in a lesser amount. There is a small fee to the consumer instead of the merchant paying credit card network transaction fees for processing a debit or credit card. This became a popular method of payment for medical marijuana because major card brands will not allow credit card processing for medical marijuana.
Bitcoin ATMs are the latest fad. They allow users to pay cash (even with a debit card) in exchange for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. But the process can be a little onerous. Like card-less ATM operations, the user will need an app and a digital key that gives you access to your account. Because of criminal affiliations with Bitcoin, the user may need to submit their driver’s license and use text messaging to confirm the transaction. They’re closer than you think. But buyer beware! With Bitcoin currently going for around $7,000/Bitcoin, you may only get a percentage of a Bitcoin.
Perhaps the smartest question you can ask today is, “What’s in my ATM?”
Article prepared by Evelyn Dehmey, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.