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A new service of automatic cash dispensing machines or “robot cashiers” was introduced by Barclays in June 1967 in order to allow the bank to operate a 24 hour service, 365 days a year.

Barclays was the first of the high street banks to offer such a service, launching the pilot machine at Enfield branch on 27 June 1967.

The worlds first cash machine (new window)

The world's first cash machine

The machines were developed jointly by De La Rue Instruments and the bank’s Management Services Department and were installed outside branches so that customers could obtain cash at any time of the day or night. The new service, known as Barclaycash, was designed to dispense £10 against a special paper voucher which the customer inserted into the machine. By keying in a personal code number, the customer could obtain cash in a matter of seconds.

Initially, six such machines were installed at selected branches and, despite being the victim of vandalism at first, proved popular. By the 1970s the machines had been refined in order to offer not only cash but also bank statements and deposit facilities as soon as the customer entered their card and P.I.N. (Personal Identification Number).

On 30 June 1975 a more sophisticated auto-teller service, called 'Barclaybank', was launched. The first two branches to offer the new machines were High Street and Cornmarket Street, Oxford. The machines were operated using a plastic card bearing the name Barclaybank. In 1986 it was decided to link the auto teller machines of Barclays, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland to enable Barclaybank holders to make cash withdrawals from any of the four banks’ machines and, in 1988, the West of England Building Society joined the reciprocal arrangement.

Barclaybank machines were not only installed outside branches: in 1986, for example, a machine was unveiled at an NCR factory; in 1990 the 10,000th ATM built by NCR - a Barclaybank - was installed as a working exhibit in the Science Museum, Kensington; machines were installed in the House of Commons in 1990 and the House of Lords in 1996.

The first 'drive-thru' cash machine in the UK was opened on 22 May 1998 at Hatton Cross, near Heathrow Airport by Cheryl Baker, TV presenter. It joined the fastest growing network of ATMs in the country which by 1999 had reached 3,200.

Today, more than 80% of cash withdrawn from banks is obtained through cash machines. Of the 63,000 cash machines in the UK, more than 42,000 are situated away from bank branches. The cash machine has become an indispensable part of modern life.

Barclays cash machines have come a long way since Reg Varney opened the first one more than forty years ago.

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