11 Mar /14


This stands for Automatic Teller Machine. Obviously the R&D department at Barclays Bank was very active in the 1960s. They were the first British bank to open a computer centre which it did in the summer of 1961. But they offered a lot more. Not only did they launch the credit card into England in 1966, but only one year later introduced automation to check clearing, helped by the invention of character recognition of magnetic ink.

But the real innovation which helped change the world was the introduction of the ATM. The ATM was launched with great fanfare by the British comedian, Reg Varney. It become anything but a joke. It changed the idea of when it was necessary to actually visit a bank. For many banks it was initiated a change of the business model

This was the first of what today are something over 2 million ATMs, something like one machine for each 3,000 people in the world. Every second the equivalent of USD 10,000 are withdrawn and in Great Britain something like two thirds of all the cash individuals see comes from the ATMs.

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