atmOn Sept. 2, 1969, the first Automatic Teller Machine begins dispensing cash at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, N.Y. The first machines could only give out cash, but by 1971, customers could make deposits and check their balances.

The ATM was the brainchild of Don Wetzel, who dreamed up the idea while standing in line at the bank. Wetzel had some experience in automated machine. He was an executive with Dallas-based Docutel, the company that developed automated baggage-handling equipment. The company spent $5 million in developing the ATM.

Did you know?

  • As of 2007, there were 360,659 ATMs in the U.S., according to the trade publication ATM & Debit News.
  • AmericaOne, an ATM management company based in Tavares, Fla., reports the typical ATM user visits an ATM 7.4 times per month and the average withdrawal is $60.
  • All ATMs buttons — including those at drive-up locations — are required to be marked with braille by section 4.34.5 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities. The feds note that while blind people can’t drive, they can still access ATMs from the back seat of taxis. From a more practical standpoint, ATM manufacturers don’t mind the requirement because all of the components can be standard and don’t require them to keep inventory for two different types of buttons.