Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I found myself short of cash the other day and I was well outside my area.  No problem; I went to the nearest ATM and agreed to pay the small fee as it wasn't my bank.  Who could object for the use of this convenient device?  I remember the very first ATM that I used to use.  It was around 1966, I think.  The system was that the bank gave you a little punched card - about two inches by one inch.  You were also given a number - your PIN - and when you wanted some cash, you inserted the card, punched in the number and out came a little wallet with about 5 pounds in it. This was a sizeable amount back then as a bank manager was making about 25 pounds a week.
Well, here is where the system was different to today.  The ATM swallowed the little card and it was ultimately sent back to you by mail, which took about a week.  You see this system was really only for emergencies back then.  Mostly if you needed cash you asked the local landlord of a pub and wrote him a check.  Of course, you had to know the place well.

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