Barclays Bank has given the ATM at its Enfield branch a lick of gold paint to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the cash machine.
The installation of the first ATM at the London borough paved the way for a revolution in the distribution of cash to consumers and spawned a global industry, with three million of the ubiquitous machines now in operation across the world.
Raheel Ahmed, head of customer experience at Barclays, comments on the golden anniversary: "Even though recent years have seen a huge uptake of digital banking and card payments, cash remains a crucial part of most people's day-to-day lives - whether it is paying for groceries or doing the office coffee run - and we're very proud of the role that Barclays has played in the history of the cash machine."
A total of £180 billion in notes were dispensed from the UK's national network of 70,000 cash machines last year.
Lu Zurawski, payments lead at ACI Worldwide expects to see an ongoing evolution in the use of cash machines as the ATM adapts to the trend for mobile banking and ushers in a new era of cardless cash withdrawals.
“I don’t see the ATMs heading for retirement any time soon," he says. "As well as being ubiquitous and simple to use, some people prefer hard cash as a deliberate way of controlling their spending. It shouldn’t be a surprise that ATMs remain so popular - they’re an incredibly successful piece of social technology. The trend towards regional bank branch closures may put an even greater emphasis on the role of the ATM, including services beyond simple cash withdrawal.”
His views are disputed by German bank Fidor, which continues to bang the drum for a cashless utopian future. Sophie Guibaud, VP of European expansion at Fidor says: “Now with the ATM turning fifty, it's time we accepted a new reality that cash has reached its final days and the future is cashless, in more developed countries to start with. While ATMs should be fondly remembered, thanks to today’s rapid technological advances, we’ll soon feel the same about those days when we carried cash around with us too.”