The history of the ATM: from 1982 to present

The early 1980s saw a revolutionary innovation – a device with a screen and some buttons that allowed customers to withdraw money that they could then spend in the shop. The cash dispensing machine soon became indispensable, but with the rise of bank cards and mobile payments, the hole in the wall has had its day.

The very first ATM in the Netherlands appeared in Limburg at Rabobank Pey en Maria-Hoop on 22 April 1982, to be precise. The rest is history. Other Rabobank Nederland cash dispensing machines quickly followed in 1982 in Utrecht, Eindhoven, Zeist and Best. And the local Rabobanks also installed ATMs en masse. By 1985, no fewer than 60 ATMs had been installed throughout the Netherlands. There were 3,300 ATMs in the Netherlands in 1992 and about 1,300 of this total belonged to Rabobank. ABN Amro and Postbank/NMB did not pass the 700 ATM mark. And the other Dutch banks had even fewer ATMs.

ATM vs. smartphone

The cash dispensing machine celebrated its 25th birthday in 2007. There was a total of around 9,000 ATMs in the Netherlands that year, of which 3,100 belonged to Rabobank. Many of these were located in assisted care facilities. A portable cash dispensing machine could also often be found at events. The same year the bank introduced the option of mobile payment, a development that Rabobank believed would be met with success.

And it seems the bank was right on the money. Now in 2016, ATMs play only a supporting role. You can pay with your debit card in practically any shop and often at the market too. More and more Rabobank customers can pay by tapping their smartphone against a device at the till. One beep and off you go, all thanks to Rabo Wallet. At the same time, there are many empty storefronts because online shopping has become the new standard. Innovation has done anything but stop.

The end of cash

Now less cash is in circulation makingmany experts believe the days of the ATM are numbered. In Sweden, for example, they have set a target to get rid of cash by 2025, when all payments will have to be made through apps or machines. The Scandinavians really are ahead of the rest of us, but it seems the pace has been set. So slowly but surely the question is becoming whether the ATM will be around to celebrate its 45th birthday. Who would have thought this back in 1982 when we were able to get cash from the hole in the wall for the first time?

Read more