An Automated Teller Machine is an electronic banking outlet, which allows customers to complete basic transactions without the aid of a branch representative or teller. Anyone with a credit card or debit card can access most ATMs. The first ATM appeared in London in 1967, and in less than 50 years, ATMs spread around the globe, securing a presence in every major country and even tiny little island nations such as Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia, according to http://www.investopedia.com.
There are two primary types of ATMs. Basic units allow customers to withdraw cash and receive reports of their account balances only. The more complex machines accept deposits, facilitate line of credit payments and report account information. To access the advanced features of the complex units, a user must be an account holder at the bank that operates the machine.
Analysts anticipate that ATMs will become even more popular and forecast an increase in the number of ATM withdrawals. ATMs of the future are likely to be full-service terminals instead of or in addition to traditional bank tellers.
In many cases, banks and credit unions own ATMs. However, individuals and businesses may also buy or lease ATMs on their own or through an ATM franchise. When individuals or small businesses such as restaurants or gas stations own ATMs, the profit model is based on charging fees to the machine’s users. Banks also own ATMs with this intent, but in addition, the convenience of an ATM is a service that banks use to attract clients. ATMs also take some of the customer service burden off bank tellers, saving banks money in payroll costs.
Account holders can use their banks’ ATMs at no charge, but accessing funds through a unit owned by a competing bank usually incurs a small fee.
For travellers, ATMs make it simple to access their accounts from almost anywhere in the world. When travellers use foreign ATMs, they receive a better exchange rate than they would at most currency exchange offices.