The first automatic teller machine (ATM) made its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville, New York.

That first machine was only able to give out cash, but in 1971, an ATM that could handle multiple functions, including providing customers’ account balances, was introduced

ATMs went on to revolutionize the banking industry, eliminating the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions. By the 1980s, these machines were widely popular and handled many of the functions previously performed by human tellers, such as taking deposits and transferring money between accounts. Today, ATMs are as indispensable to most people as cell phones and e-mail.

There are well over 1 million ATMs around the world, with a new one added approximately every five minutes.

In the 1990s, banks began charging fees to use ATMs, a profitable move for them and an annoying one for customers who were also faced with an increase in ATM crimes and scams. Robbers prey on people using money machines in poorly lit or otherwise unsafe locations, and criminals devised ways to steal customers’ PINs (personal identification numbers), even setting up fake money machines to capture the information.

However even though some of the money transfer abilities are now more easily done using the internet and more people pay by debit card ATMs are clearly here to stay.

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