June 27, 2017 / 10:40 AM / in 4 months

World's first ATM machine turns to gold on 50th birthday

A woman walks past a golden ATM, marking the location of the first 'hole in the wall,' which opened fifty years ago, in Enfield, Britain June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - 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.

The brainchild of Scottish inventor Shepherd-Barron, the first ATM (automated teller machine) was opened on June 27, 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank.

English actor Reg Varney, who starred in the British TV comedy show “On The Buses”, was the first person to withdraw cash from the new machine.

Now there are an estimated three million cash machines across the globe with some 70,000 cash machines in the UK alone which dispensed 175 billion pounds in 2016. The world’s most northerly machine is at Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway and the most southerly located at the McMurdo station at the South Pole.

To commemorate the anniversary, Barclays transformed the ATM at its Enfield branch into gold, added a commemorative plaque and placed a red carpet in front for its users.

“Even though recent years have seen a huge uptake of digital banking and card payments, cash remains a crucial part of most people’s day-to-day lives,” said Raheel Ahmed, Head of Customer Experience and Channels at Barclays.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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