What Does ATM Stand For?

Lightrocket/Lightrocket/Getty Images

ATM is an abbreviation for automated teller machine. These telecommunications devices allow card-holding banking customers access to their accounts and funds at any time and in places outside of their institution’s branches.

Conceptualized as far back as 1939, the first modern ATM was invented by John Shepherd Barron and installed in a branch of Barclays Bank in North London in 1967. This and other early machines were not linked to their banks’ computer systems and issued funds in exchange for vouchers. Since then, ATMs have become a part of a global banking network, with machines and cards that have been standardized, and allow customers access to their money at almost any time or place around the world.