On This Day In Finance: June 4 - The Birth Of The Modern ATM

By Investopedia Staff | June 02, 2009 AAA

On June 4, 1973, the first patent for the automated teller machine (ATM) is awarded to Don Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain of Docutel. The patent was issued following years of research at an estimated cost of $5 million.

Although Docutel was credited with the creation of the first magstripe ATM (known as the Docuteller at the time), the idea and use of less advanced ATMs dates back to the late 1930s. Several other prototypes were introduced to the public over the next 30 years, however the free-standing magstripe machine was the eventual victor and is still used by financial institutions to this day.

The first Docuteller was installed at New York City's Chemical Bank in 1969, while the first fully functioning "Total Teller" was introduced in 1971. Following the awarding of the patent in 1973, ATMs begin to spread across the nation and have remained a constant in consumer banking. (For more on ATMs, see 5 ATM Scams That Can Break The Bank.)

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