International Finance
Banking

The ATM turns 50

Its ‘effect on everyday life can’t be understated’, but the future is cashless

The ATM ushered in a new era in banking and its effect on everyday life can’t be understated. Today you can find an ATM in the farthest flung place in the world, with over three million machines dotted across the globe.

Now with the ATM turning 50, it’s time we accepted a new reality that cash has reached its final days and the future is cashless, in more developed countries to start with.

There are simple reasons why we are moving to a cashless society, not just in the UK but across the world. The cost of physical paper and coin cash — handling it, securing it, insuring it — is huge for banks and merchants. It’s inconvenient for consumers, too, as it weighs down their pockets and can easily be stolen, leaving no trace which leads back to its rightful owner.

There are some issues that need to be addressed before we finally pull the plug on cash, such as more efficient peer-to-peer payment services and digital point-of-sale systems that are available to retailers large and small, to name but a few.

However, while ATMs should be fondly remembered, thanks to today’s rapid technological advances, we’ll soon feel the same about those days when we carried cash around with us too.

 

Sophie Guibaud is VP of European expansion at Fidor Bank

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