Automated telling machine or ATM’s as we know them have been around for 40 years.
Also known as Cash machines, Hole in the Wall machines, Cash Dispensers or Cash Points they do what it says on the tin by dispensing cash to those able to access the machine with a valid plastic card.
Plastic cards linked to your bank or credit card account referenced by a magnetic strip or chip and a personal pin number provide access to ATM’s. The ATM is part of an online telecommunication network and one machine can access a range of banks and services.
ATM Use & Operation Tips
- In the UK many ATM’s are free to use. They are found close to banks and in some retail outlets.
- ATM’s in convenience areas and leisure premises may charge for the transaction. Try avoid these costs which can be disproportionate to the amount withdrawn.
- In addition to cash withdrawals you can generally check your balance, modify your pin number and print a mini statement.
- Credit cards that allow cash withdrawals start incurring interest immediately. I avoid drawing cash on credit cards for these extra cost reasons
- Cash can be withdrawn abroad in the currency of the country you are visiting. There is a 1-2% handling charge but often the conversion rate is very good. Beware as some countries do not have a large developed network of ATM’s.
Additional Uses of ATM’s
As ATM’s have developed in complexity you may now be able to;
- Pay routine bills, utilities, phone bills, social security, legal fees, etc.
- Load monetary value onto stored value cards including topping up pre-paid mobile phone credit .
- Purchase stamps, tickets, donating to charities etc
- Cheque depositing and processing
- Transfer money between linked accounts
- Play games, read advertising and bank promotions which are growth areas for ATM’s
- Your physical safety is important. Take care in dark lonely areas if you are withdrawing cash. Forced withdrawals can be a problem in some areas. Do not have all your resources available via one card transaction (there is usually a day limit anyway.)
- Security of access to your account is next most important. Keep your card and pin number safe and confidential.
- Do not use an ATM if you think it has been skimmed or tampered with. Some thieves modify machine so they can see you enter your pin or so the cash is not delivered until they return to steal it. Better bank security measures are beating much of this type of fraud.
- Staff filling the machine with money are prone to attempted robbery. The money is often kept in cassettes which will dye the money if incorrectly opened.
- The ATM’s inside bank premises may be best for safety and complex transactions
History of ATM’s
- Chemical Bank installed the first ATM in the U.S. in 1969 and Lloyds Bank installed the first UK ATM in 1972.
- One bank advertised ”our bank will open at 9:00 and never close again.” The start of 24/7 access to cash.
- The UK has 40,000 free ATM’s out of a total of approximately 63,000 ATM’s but 97% of all transactions are conducted free of charges.
- £125 billion in cash is dispensed every year based on over 100 million plastic cards.
‘Virtually every cash machine in the UK is connected to LINK, and LINK provides the only route through which debit card and ATM card issuers can offer their customers reliable nationwide access to cash. All the UK’s significant debit and ATM card issuers are LINK members.’ The link link is to the new Charity giving feature offered by Link.