Antarctica tops list of most extreme ATM locations

Antarctica tops list of most extreme ATM locations

It may one day be made obsolete by a cashless society, but as it nears its 50th birthday the humble ATM has reached far and wide, from Antarctica to the Australian desert.

Invented by John Shepherd-Barron, the first ATMs was commissioned by Barclays and installed at a branch in Enfield in 1967. In the absence of plastic cards, the first machines accepted special paper cheques impregnated with carbon 14 and would dispense up to a maximum £10 per transaction.

Nearly half a century on, more than three million of the machines are spread around the globe, some in incredibly remote locations, shows a new countdown of the most "extreme" from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA).

Topping the list are a collection of Wells Fargo machines located inside the McMurdo Station near the South Pole, providing the 1000-plus residents with access to cash to spend at the base's store.

Not to be outdone, on the other pole the Arctic Moolah ATMs on Baffin Island serve a chilly population of around 800. Meanwhile, a single ATM serves the Tjuntuntjara Aboriginal Community in the Australian outback. 1150 kilometres from Perth and beyond the reach of mobile services, the machine uses satellite communications to transact some 500 withdrawals a month.

Also making the top 15 extreme list are machines in upper Hunza Valley in Pakistan, Northern Lapland and China's Forbidden City.

ATMIA has also put together what it calls a top 10 of "fun" ATMs, including one with an elephant exterior, one behind a garage door, and a row of machines that bring new meaning to the phrase "spend a penny".

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