Five decades since it heralded a transformation in the way people obtained and used cash, the world's first ATM was turned into gold for celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary. But as Kate King explores, can it keep up with an increasingly digital world?
In a world where we can pay with our phones - transfer money via computer or even spend with bitcoin, the need to carry cash is diminishing. But 50 years ago - this was the future. The humble Automatic Teller Machine. SOUNDBITE (English) BARCLAY'S HEAD OF BRAND INNOVATION, CARL HYNES, SAYING: "In many ways the very first ATM here at Barclays in Enfield was very similar to the cashpoints that we know and love today, the only thing that was really different about them was that customers had to collect special vouchers from their branch and then they could exchange those vouchers for a bundle of ten one pound notes." Fast forward half a century and there's now 3 million ATM's world-wide. In some countries you can use them to buy stamps, pay bills or donate to charity. SOUNDBITE (English) BARCLAY'S HEAD OF BRAND INNOVATION, CARL HYNES, SAYING: "In the UK last year ATMs dispensed 175 billion pounds of cash, which is nearly twice the annual government deficit, so we absolutely see that ATM's play a fundamental role in our economy." To celebrate the milestone Barclay's on Tuesday unveiled a golden machine in Enfield, where the very first one was installed. And it seems the UK's love affair with the hole in the wall hasn't burnt out yet. In December last year 730 million pounds was withdrawn in one day - an all time daily record. SOUNDBITE (English) BARCLAY'S HEAD OF BRAND INNOVATION, CARL HYNES, SAYING: "Who knows what the world will look like in ten years or even another 50 years, but we do know is that cash is still really really important to many of our customers, whether that is buying a cup of coffee in the mornings, buying the groceries." Because after all there's nothing quite like the feeling of cold hard cash in your back pocket - even if it's gone before you know it.