Wincor Nixdorf looks back at a successful piece of history: the 25th Anniversary of the ATM

Thursday 11 December 2003 10:08 CET | News

It was exactly 25 years ago that the first automated teller machine left the Paderborn factory of what was then Nixdorf Computer AG, on its way to be installed at the main branch of Cologne District Savings Bank on the citys "Neumarkt" square. A quarter of a century later, the companys successor, Wincor Nixdorf, has developed into one of the worlds leading ATM manufacturers, dispatching over 20,000 machines each year. The "cash computer", eyed skeptically at first, has now become an indispensable part of everyday life. 72% of Germans put it at the top of their list of favorite everyday innovations – ahead of mobile phones and microwave ovens – as shown by a representative study prepared in 2002 by the Allensbach Demoscopic Institute. The first Nixdorf ATM had its début in December 1978 at Cologne District Savings Bank (CDSB), three years after the bank had already demonstrated its trail-blazing credentials by installing self-service statement printers. The ATM came equipped with four cash dispensing trays and a small screen offering a four-line display. PIN checking was carried out via the banks own network. The system offered two basic functions: cash withdrawals and/or statement printing. The time taken for both functions was around 35 seconds. The cash computer was installed in the bank itself and was therefore only accessible during bank opening hours. As a result, customer take-up was slow. In 1981, for example, there were no more than 22 ATMs in the field in Germany which could be used by customers of other banks. Those were the days when high-ranking bank officials were prepared to bet with Nixdorf that "therell be no more than 50 of the things stuck out in the back of beyond". Not so. The breakthrough came when the machines were installed in bank foyers and as through-the-wall machines in Spain and Sweden, providing cash 24 hours a day. At CDSB, champion of the self-service cause, the consistent, steady approach applied in pursuing its chosen route quickly bore fruit. As early as the mid-80s, a third of cash transactions were ATM-based. In 1992, this figure had risen to 80% - close to saturation point - and is currently sitting at 85%. Whereas the first Wincor Nixdorf prototypes were still heavily based on the Japanese and Swedish models, the final versions were already carrying the unmistakable Nixdorf hallmarks. The company itself developed a banknote separator which permitted a completely new design. In the mid-80s, the first multifunction cash systems were designed. Their day did not really come until the increase in intelligence of ATMs thanks to the inclusion of a standard PC within. In 1986, the spotlight swung onto self-service for savings accounts, and in 1998 Wincor Nixdorf became a pioneer in cash recycling. Today, ATM functions even extend to check deposits and processing of written bank transfer mandates.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce