On this day in 1969, America’s first automatic teller machine (ATM) makes its public debut. Cash was dispensed to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, New York. Chemical Bank promoted the event with an advertisement that boasted "On September 2nd our bank will open at 9:00 AM and never close again."
The very first ATM was built and installed at Barclays Bank in London in 1967. The machine was dependent on checks impregnated with the(slightly radioactive isotope carbon 14 to initiate a withdrawal, as the magnetic coding for ATM cards had not yet been developed.
ATMs went on to revolutionize the banking industry, eliminating the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions. Today, ATMs are as indispensable to most people as cell phones and e-mail.
The ATM that debuted in New York in 1969 was only able to give out cash, but in 1971, ATMs that could handle multiple functions, including providing customers’ account balances, was introduced.
ATMs eventually expanded beyond the confines of banks and today can be found everywhere from gas stations to convenience stores to cruise ships.
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