Friday, 7 February 2014

Paying Machine the ATM

ATM_pinpad_in_german.jpg (295×213)
Key pad of ATM
Machines, gadgets & appliances give a creepy feeling to me. Specially those in offices like tea/coffee vending machine or ATM as they don't smile or frown or even glance at you like Chhotu chaiwala & Sunder Lal cashier do. The machines just stand there, hiss & whirr when you poke them with a card. They deliver & then become quiet. And you can't thank them even if you want to say 'Mr ATM thanks for correct amount' or 'Ms Coffee Machine that was a good cup of coffee'.

But without discussing machines with me, my banker sent me a colourful little ATM card with so many instructions that me on pension got nothing but tension. So I confronted the branch manager with unsolicited card.

You might have met my branch manger The Baldy. He is short with beer belly, one or two strands of hair standing upright on his bald shiny head which is the genesis of his nick name. The Baldy was all smiles & explained that I could access my account without help of a teller 24*7*365. I could withdraw cash, transfer funds to other accounts, get to know the balance or get a statement of last couple of transactions.

But I am comfortable with Sunder Lal cashier & I have sufficient time with me as I have six days off every week not counting Sunday. Besides I don't like the face of ATM compared to that of Sunder Lal, I told The Baldy. He smiled & offered me training instead.

The Baldy informed about magnetic stripe on the card which is read by machine & by putting in the personal identification number PIN on the key pad of ATM account could be reached. 

Thereafter I have made searches in the internet & have unearthed the history of ATM. It all began in 1961 with a machine called Bankograph. It was installed by Citi Bank of New York for accepting automated envelope deposit containing coins, cash or cheques. It did not dispense cash & therefore customers lost interest. This machine hardly lasted six months.

In 1969, Chemical Bank installed first ATM in New York. This machine dispensed fixed amounts of cash when customer inserted his coded card. This machine was designed by Donald Wetzel & was called Docuteller.

In 1972 Lloyds Bank installed IBM 2984 Cash Issuing Terminal in London which was perhaps the first modern ATM.

In India ATM made its first appearance in 1987 when HSBC introduced the concept.

Presently ATMs are spread far & wide all over the globe. Interesting to note that the most northerly ATM is in Norway & most southerly in New Zealand's Ross Dependency in Antarctica. ATM on highest altitude has been installed by Axis Bank at Nathu La at 13200 ft. Though Chinese media claims to have highest installed ATM at Nagchu, Tibet which again is a disputed territory. And the lowest one is at 421 meters below sea level at Ein Bokek, Israel.

In India practically all the ATMs are interconnected with National Financial Switch (NFS) designed & implemented by Institute of Development & Research in Banking Technology, Hyderabad.

As of Sept 2013 this network connects approx 1.40 lacs ATMs of 74 member banks, 99 sub-member banks, 42 RRBs & 1 Whitelabel ATM provider. Whitelabel ATMs were first started in Canada & these have also been introduced in India. Whitelabel ATMs are provided by non banking companies approved by RBI. Most of the these machines are supplied by NCR, Diebold or IBM.

Now I do get my payments from machine which has no feelings but I miss smile of Sunder Lal cashier & tea of Chhotu chaiwala.

Machine that pays!

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