What is an ATM?
An ATM, which stands for automated teller machine, is a specialized computer that makes it convenient to manage a bank account holder’s funds. It allows a person to check account balances, withdraw or deposit money, print a statement of account activities or transactions, and even purchase stamps.
ATMs were first used in London in 1967, and after 50 years, these machines can be found nationwide.
ATMs can be on-premise or off-premise. On-premise ATMs are located in financial institutions. Clients enjoy more choice, convenience and availability, while banks can boost their revenue from transactions, lessen operational costs and maximize staff resources.
Off-premise ATMs are typically found in places such as airports, grocery and convenience stores and shopping centers where there is a simple need for cash.
ATMs are simple data terminals with four output and two input devices. They have to connect to a host processor and communicate through it. The host processor works like an Internet Service Provider (ISP), a portal through which all the various networks of ATMs become accessible to the bank account holder with either a credit card or debit card.
An account holder can use an ATM to carry out a number of transactions.
Withdrawals are the most common transaction among ATM cardholders. This allows them to withdraw cash from their accounts. For a withdrawal, account holders just have to key in the amount they wish to take out.
ATM deposits also are becoming popular. Account holders can deposit money and checks if their bank allows it.
Balance inquiries allow account holders to view their current account balance. This feature may be helpful if account holders need to know the amount of money they can spend with their debit card or credit card.
Transfers and payments are also available depending on the bank. This allows account holders to move money from one account to another, without withdrawing cash.
Account holders using an ATM not affiliated with their bank will most likely have to pay a fee. ATMs always disclose these fees on their screens, and they give users an option to cancel the transaction if they do not want to pay the fee.
In the U.S., the average fee for a single ATM withdrawal is about $4.52. This fee usually varies from state to state. Atlanta usually has the highest average fees at about $5.15, while Seattle has the lowest average ATM fees at $4.21.
Users should be aware of the threats that target these machines. For safety reasons, users should transact at ATMs located in well-lit public places.