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After half a century since the first hole in the wall here's 50 facts you never knew about cash

1. Barclays chose its branch in Enfield, North London, for the world's first cash machine in 1967 because its high windows provided enough space underneath for the safe and equipment.

2. With the first cash machines you had to buy a paper voucher from a bank teller in advance, and you could only get out £10 at a time.

The voucher was covered with a radioactive substance called carbon-14 that the machine could detect and match against a PIN.

3. On The Buses sitcom star (and Barclays customer) Reg Varney was the first person to use an ATM.

4. There is controversy over who designed the cash machine. Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron was inspired by chocolate bar vending machines and created the first Barclays ATM.

Yet around the same time, fellow Scot, James Goodfellow, designed a slightly different machine which used plastic cards punched with holes. Both men received OBEs for their services to banking.

Yet around the same time, fellow Scot, James Goodfellow, designed a slightly different machine which used plastic cards punched with holes. Both men received OBEs for their services to banking.

5. There is a new ATM installed somewhere in the world every three minutes.

6. Some of the first cash machines didn't give your card back immediately. Instead, it was either posted to you or you had to go into a branch to collect it.

7. Lloyds launched the first computerised UK cash machine in Brentwood, Essex, in 1972. For the first time, the money was debited from your account instantly.

8. It wasn't until the Eighties that banks started to allow customers of rival firms to use their cash machines.

9. Rumour has it that PINs were originally going to be six digits — until inventor John Shepherd-Barron's wife Caroline said that she could only remember four.

10. ATM is an American term that stands for automated teller machine. Teller has its origins in Old English, meaning someone who counts money.

11. The word cashpoint was introduced in 1972 by Lloyds Bank, which registered it as a trademark in 1986.

12. The most money withdrawn from UK cash machines in a day is £730 million on December 23, last year.

13. Roughly three in four cash machines have no fees — 53,885 out of 70,020 at the end of last year.

14. The average withdrawal in the UK is £71.

15. America has ATMs that allow customers to chat with the bank staff over a real-time video link.

16. Cash machines fail 5 per cent of the time. The main reason, other than hardware faults, is running out of cash.

17. There are three million ATMs in the world. By 2020 it is predicted there will be four million.

18. Portugal has the highest number of cash machines in Western Europe per million residents — 1,540. The UK has 1,074 and the European average is 960.

19. Sweden has the fewest ATMs, with 333 per million inhabitants.

20. There are two cash machines in Antarctica — both in the huge McMurdo Station science hub. They dispense U.S. dollars only.

21. The world's most northern ATM is in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, an island half-way between Norway and the North Pole that is known for its views of the Northern Lights.

22. ATMs in the Vatican City can give you instructions in Latin.

23. In India you can make religious donations at ATMs installed in temples.

24. The UK recorded 54 cash machine withdrawals per person in 2014 — the highest in the world.

25. Barclays has launched contactless ATMs where you tap your card or smartphone against the machine to get out up to £100.

26. The highest ATM in the world is 16,007 ft above sea level in a remote part of Pakistan.

27. Cash machines in Lapland blow out air as cash is dispensed to stop snow getting inside.

28. Some ATMs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi dispense gold bars and coins.

29. The first 'drive-thru' cash machine in the UK opened on May 22, 1998, at Hatton Cross near Heathrow Airport.

30. In Whistler, Canada, CIBC bank has a 'ski-thru' ATM on the slopes. It has a place to store your skis and gloves while you use it.

31. In the Nineties, some Japanese ATMs sterilised notes before dispensing them, reportedly heating them to 200c to kill bacteria.

32. In 2012, Barclays became the first UK bank to launch talking cash machines for customers with sight problems. Canada had introduced them in 1997.

33. Some people believe that if you enter your PIN backwards into the machine it will alert the police that you're withdrawing money under duress. It's a myth.

34. Banks are already rolling out cash machines that no longer require a card or PIN. You log into an app on your phone, choose how much you want and are given a code to enter into the machine.

35. In Spain, you can buy sports tickets and pay parking fines at ATMs.

36. You can get a reward of up to £25,000 if you pass on any information that leads to the conviction of someone responsible for an attack on a cash machine.

37. ATMs were deliberately designed so the card comes out before the cash to help prevent customers leaving it behind.

38. Link, the UK's cash machine network, has a free app that shows where your nearest ATM is on a map — you can even search for machines that dispense £5 notes.

39. In the U.S., you can get stamps out of ATMs.

40. You can use cash machines to take out funeral plans in South Africa.

41. On some golf courses in America there are mobile ATMs that are driven around the course on buggies.

42. ATMs are increasingly used to advertise public notices such as 'don't drink and drive'.

43. In Portugal you can apply for a fishing and hunting licence on some cash machines.

44. In some countries small businesses have been able to deposit cash at ATMs since 1982.

45. Some ATMs give out change to shopkeepers. You put a till tray inside the machine and it then deposits the coins into the correct slots.

46. Cash machines in Japan and Brazil use your fingerprint or palm to verify your identity instead of a PIN. In China they use facial recognition software.

47. An estimated 46 per cent of cash machines in the UK are located in shops, compared with 27 per cent at bank branches.

48. Banks are under pressure to update cash machines in the UK because the new plastic £5 and forthcoming £10 notes are now deemed too slippery.

49. In Thailand you often have to pay to use cash machines belonging to other banks — even for balance inquiries.

50. China only installed its first ATM in 1987.


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