What an ATM is
ATM is an abbreviation or acronym for “Automated Teller Machine (cash machine)“, or as a slang word for “At The Moment”.
An ATM is an electronic banking device that aid customers in completing basic transactions by using credit cards with little or no human intervention.
The Inventor of ATM (Automated Teller Machine)
The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was invented and pioneered by Scottish inventor, John Adrian Shepherd-Barron. John was born on June 23rd, 1925 in Shillong, now Meghalaya, India.
His father, Wilfred Shepherd-Barron, was chief engineer of the Chittagong Port Commissioners who later became the president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
His mother, Dorothy Cunliffe Shepherd-Barron, was a Tennis player from Great Britain who teamed up with Evelyn Colyer to win a bronze medal in the women’s doubles event in the Summer Olympics in 1924.
John Adrian Shepherd-Barron married Caroline Murray in 1953.
He died at age 84 on May 15, 2010 in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, Scotland.
Why the ATM was invented
The idea of inventing a cash machine (ATM) by John Adrian Shepherd-Barron so happened after he got frustrated one Saturday in 1965 at not being able to withdraw cash from his bank which had closed and locked its doors a minute after he got there.
Whilst taking his bath that evening with no cash to spend the weekend, he conceived the idea for a self-service machine dispensing cash.
His concept of the ATM was based on chocolate vending machines, where instead of a bar of chocolate, the customer received a packet of money in exchange for a voucher.
The first ever Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was installed at a branch of Barclays Bank in Enfield, north London on June 27th, 1967.
The ATMs were officially called DACS (De La Rue Automatic Cash System).
And the first person to withdraw money from ATM was British actor Reg Varney (see his photo below), star of the ITV sitcom ‘On the Buses’.
Why the ATM PIN code has only 4 digits
After the Scottish inventor, John Adrian Shepherd-Barron, had designed ATM, he proposed a 6-digit security pin (Personal Identification Number) for the ATM as a security measure.
But his wife, Caroline Murray could not memorize the proposed 6-digit pin. The string of numbers she (Caroline Murray) could only remember was a 4-digit pin.
As a result, John went with the four-digit PINs which spread across the globe to become the world standard.
Countries which now use 6-digit PIN instead of the standard 4-digit PIN
In modern times, and for high security measures, some countries have adopted and instituted more than a 4-digit ATM pin due to cyber theft or internet fraud.
In most of the European countries (EU) such as Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Finland, among others, 6-digit ATM pins have been deployed as default for most users.
Author: George Awiadem Maclean