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Did You Know These Surprising ATM Facts?

Updated: Feb 28

If you’ve ever needed some quick cash, odds are you’ve stopped by an ATM. They’re convenient, accessible and can get you on your way with extra funds. However, there’s more to know about these useful machines than that. Here are some fun and surprising facts you probably didn’t know about ATMs.


3 Fun Facts About ATMs


1. Early Ones Could Only Give You $27

The first ATM, used by Barclays Bank in 1967 in London, would only dispense a single £10 at a time, or $27 in those days. More than 50 years later, ATM users are typically able to withdraw anywhere from $20 to $1000, if not more.


2. Creator’s Wife Inspired the 4-Digit PIN

John Shepherd-Barron is credited with producing the first successful ATM at Barclays Bank. However, it was his wife Caroline who encouraged him to use a four-digit PIN for access. Initially, Barron thought six digits would be easy to remember. He asked his wife and she suggested people would have a harder time remembering six numbers. John listened and agreed, and four-digit PINs are still the standard for ATM access today.


3. The First Attempt to Create an ATM Was in the 1930s

Decades before Barclays Bank saw success with the first ATM, Luther Geroge Simjian made an attempt at a cash dispensing machine in 1939. This proto-ATM was piloted by Citibank for six months, but the bank soon abandoned the idea due to a lack of widespread interest. Simjian supposedly said ATMs back then were only being used by people who were hiding criminal activities.


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