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'Hole in the wall' proving cash is still king 50 years on; The cash machine celebrates its 50th birthday today - with the 'hole in the wall' remaining a popular way for people to manage their day-to-day money half a century after it first appeared on the UK's streets. Vicky Shaw reports...

Byline: Vicky Shaw

THE world's first ATM was unveiled by Barclays at its Enfield branch in north London on June 27, 1967. As a tribute to the golden anniversary, Barclays has transformed the modern-day Enfield cash machine into gold.

The original ATM was the brainchild of John Shepherd-Barron, who was commissioned by Barclays to create six cash dispensers, the first of which was installed at Enfield.

On the Buses TV sitcom actor Reg Varney was the star of the opening and the first person to use the stateof-the-art invention, which transformed people's ability to manage their finances by giving customers access to cash outside bank branch opening hours.

Despite the rise in other new technologies such as online and mobile banking, the ATM remains popular 50 years on.

The UK record for the most cash withdrawn in a day was broken as recently as December last year as Christmas shoppers withdrew PS730m, according to industry figures.

Trade association Payments UK recently predicted that the rapid growth in the use of contactless cards means cash will be overtaken as Britain's most frequently-used payment method by the end of next year.

But Payments UK has said its forecast did not herald the demise of cash, as even in 10 years, cash is still expected to make up around a fifth (21%) of all payments.

Raheel Ahmed, head of customer experience and channels at Barclays, said: "Even though recent years have seen a huge uptake of digital banking and card payments, cash remains a crucial part of most people's day-to-day lives - whether it's paying for groceries or doing the office coffee run - and we're very proud of the role that Barclays has played in the history of the cash machine."

This month also marked 30 years since Barclays introduced the debit card to the UK, on June 3 1987.

Jeremy Light, managing director of payments at technology services company Accenture, said the ATMs of today are changing with the times to keep up with customers' needs.

He said: "The ATM is changing, as it takes on a new role to complement online banking. Donating to charity, buying stamps or even applying for a credit card are all possible and may come to your local ATM.

"Smarter technology means ATMs are more secure and versatile today, for example cash withdrawals using a mobile phone instead of a card. ATMs perform an important role in the UK economy and maintain customer interactions with a bank. "Perhaps cash will always be king."

ALL ABOUT ATMs | There are 176.4 million cards in the UK that can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs.

| These cards were used to withdraw a total of PS179.78bn from UK ATMs last year.

| Debit cards are the most-used card type to make withdrawals from cash machines, accounting for the vast majority of cash acquisition by consumers.

| Before the days when cards were a common feature in people's wallets, early cash dispensers were designed to receive hole-punched vouchers of PS10 each, purchased by the customer from the bank and used in the dispenser when needed. | In the mid-1980s, the UK's cash machine network, Link, was launched. Nearly every cash machine in the UK, both free-to-use and pay-to-use, is now connected to Link, giving cardholders nationwide access to cash.

| In 1996, the one billionth cash machine transaction was processed by Link.

| Also in 1996, the average UK cash machine withdrawal exceeded PS50 for the first time.

| In 2002, mobile-phone top ups became available at cash machines.

Vouchers needed in original ATMs In the days before people's wallets were stuffed with plastic cards to make payments and withdraw cash, the process used for taking money from a cash machine would have been quite different to the way it works today.

Here are the steps that customers would have taken to withdraw cash when the ATM was first introduced, according to Barclays: | Customers could withdraw PS10 in cash in exchange for a special voucher.

| This voucher was processed as a cheque and the money was taken from the customer's account. | The customer would sign the voucher and place it in the ATM drawer, where it was tested for authenticity.

| An illuminated panel would then ask the customer to input their personal six-figure code.

| The machine checked the code and if everything was in order the machine would then dispense the PS10 in cash from another drawer. | The vouchers issued were valid for six months. They were only issued to approved customers, each of whom was given a six-digit code, known only to the customer and the branch manager.

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Actor Reg Varney officially opens the world's first ATM at Barclays Bank, in Enfield, Middlesex on June 27, 1967
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 27, 2017
Words:785
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