Is the Future of the ATM Past?

  • Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
  • Claudia Reese
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Banking and Financial Institutions book series (SBFI)


Greater use of credit and debit card payments as well as the mirage of the ‘cashless society’, led some North American and British observers to consider automated teller machines (ATMs) a ‘passing technology’.1 Not so (or at least not in the foreseeable future) is the unanimous conclusion of 20 British managers in financial and non-financial intermediaries with direct responsibilities in self-service technology (and management of ATM fleets), who were asked to opine on that sentiment between March and January 2008. Although the use of cash has decreased to ‘historical’ low levels, its use remains steady while the ATM remains the undisputed vehicle for people to acquire cash (as opposed to transactions at the bank retail branch or ‘cash back’ at food retailers).2 One interviewee opined:

When I joined the bank [in 1973], I was against ATMs. We didn’t know that ATMs were the future. I thought the technology was a little early and thought we could use retail establishments as the vehicle to provide cash to customers. Supermarkets in the United States at that time used to have excess cash as they used to cash checks for people. The question was how to provide on-line, real-time support.

(Interview, 8 September 2009)


Path Dependence Financial Intermediary Personal Identification Number Food Retailer Building Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo and Claudia Reese 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
    • 1
  • Claudia Reese
    • 2
  1. 1.Business SchoolLeicester UniversityUK
  2. 2.School of HistoryUniversity of NottinghamUK

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