ATM turns 40
June 25, 2007
Forty years ago this week, Britons first got instant automated access to their current accounts and savings accounts.
The cash machine, a staple of modern life was first unveiled in Enfield, north London, after its inventor dreamed it up in the bathtub using the chocolate dispenser as his muse.
John Shepherd-Barron told the BBC he was in the bath when "it struck me there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the UK. I hit upon the idea of a chocolate bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash".
His invention was snapped up by Barclays, who also launched the first credit card in the UK 41 years ago, although it was not in its present form.
Originally the ATMs read paper cheques with a mildly radioactive ink. Now there are about 1.6 million cash machines around the world, many of which accept UK debit and credit cards.
While banks have come in for criticism for not issuing sums less than ten pounds through cash points, the original hole in a wall would not hand out any more than £10, said to be "enough for a wild weekend".