World's first ATM given a golden makeover for 50th birthday

Five decades since it heralded a transformation in the way people obtained and used cash, the world's first ATM was turned into gold for celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary. But can it keep up with an increasingly digital world?
Customers use the ATM machine outside a Barclays bank branch in London. The world's first ATM machine opened at a Barclays branch in Enfield, London on June 27, 1967.
Customers use the ATM machine outside a Barclays bank branch in London. The world's first ATM machine opened at a Barclays branch in Enfield, London on June 27, 1967.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (Reuters) - Five decades since it heralded a transformation in the way people obtained and used cash, the world's first ATM was given a golden makeover for celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary.

The brainchild of Scottish inventor Shepherd-Barron, the first ATM (automated teller machine) was opened on June 27, 1967, at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank.

English actor Reg Varney, who starred in the British TV comedy show On The Buses, was the first person to withdraw cash from the new machine.

Now there are an estimated three million cash machines across the globe, with some 70,000 cash machines in the UK alone, which dispensed 175 billion pounds in 2016.

The world's most northerly machine is at Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, and the most southerly located at the McMurdo station at the South Pole.

To commemorate the anniversary, Barclays transformed the ATM at its Enfield branch into gold, added a commemorative plaque and placed a red carpet in front for its users.

"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," said Raheel Ahmed, Head of Customer Experience and Channels at Barclays.