Automated Teller Machines

views updated Jun 27 2018


AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINES (ATMs) are data terminals for convenient money transactions. Don Wetzel is credited as the inventor of the ATM. He created the machine while working for the Docutel Company in Dallas, Texas, during the 1960s.

ATMs are actually kiosk computers with a keypad and screen. The patron is prompted with instructions and given a choice of transactions. An optional receipt can be printed for patron records. Bank access to accounts is provided through telephone networking, a host processor, and a bank computer to verify data. Using an ATM card, a debit card, or a credit card, bank patrons can electronically access their accounts and withdraw or deposit funds, make payments, or check balances.

ATMs have eliminated the need to enter a bank for basic transactions and allow access to accounts at machines throughout the United States. Financial institutions started charging fees to use their ATMs in the mid-1990s, making the transactions very profitable for the host banks. The use of ATMs has cut service staff in traditional banks, impacting employment in the industry. As many machines are now commercially owned and leased in public venues, a technical industry for creating, leasing, and maintaining the machines has developed.

Innovation in ATMs has included machines designed for use by the blind, kiosk machines in stores, gas stations, malls, and other public places, and machines with verbal prompts.


Fitch, Thomas P. Dictionary of Banking Terms. 4th ed. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron's Educational Series, 2000.

Shaw, Tony. "Beyond Cash and Carry: Up-and-Coming Features Make Today's ATMs More than Simple Cash Dispensers." Independent Banker 50, no. 2 (2000): 64.

Karen RaeMehaffey

See alsoBanking: Overview .

About this article

automated teller machine

All Sources -
Updated Aug 24 2016 About content Print Topic