The World’s ‘First’ ATM

OK. This one is not the world’s ‘first’ but it is in the place where the world’s first was installed; an unassuming branch of Barclays Bank in Enfield, North London on 27th June 1967.

It didn’t work properly; its ‘inventor’, John Shepherd-Barron, had to feed through the banknotes by hand from inside.

But for ATM nerds, it’s important to realise that the world’s first working cash dispenser — which was actually the forerunner of the ATM we know today — needed two-factor authentication: Insertion of a paper voucher which the machine recognised as genuine because of the radioactive ink with which it was printed; and the matching of unique ‘Hollerith’ punch holes with a four-figure Personal Identification Number (PIN) entered by the customer using a PIN-Pad.

Yes, the world’s first cash machine (pictured here) used a PIN-Pad, light-based Hollerith switches, and a four-figure PIN. These facts alone should slay some industry myths. This and more stories about the ATM’s invention can be found in James Shepherd-Barron’s book about his father, Hole in the Wall – Memoirs of a Cash Machine which can be found on Amazon.