Happy 40th, ATM

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22 September 2016

It’s been 40 years since ING’s predecessor introduced the first ATM in the Netherlands.

Innovation isn’t only an important part of ING’s strategy, it’s part of our history.

This month marks 40 years since ING’s predecessor, Gemeentegiro Amsterdam (GGA), became the first bank in the Netherlands to introduce a cash machine—six years before the nearest competitor, Rabobank.

The first cash machine introduced by Gemeentegiro in Amsterdam in 1976. </br>Image from Historical Archive ING.

The first cash machine introduced by Gemeentegiro in Amsterdam in 1976.
Image from Historical Archive ING.

Cash Card Gemeentegiro Amsterdam (1976). </br>Image from Historical Archive ING.

Cash Card Gemeentegiro Amsterdam (1976).
Image from Historical Archive ING.

It was a Wednesday, 15 September 1976, and the first ‘Geldkaart’ (cash card) featuring a magnet strip and numeric code was issued for the first cash machine, in Amsterdam. Customers could use the cash card to withdraw money, check their balance and deposit money at the GGA cash machines. A day later, they received their statement by post.

Amsterdam account holders were quick to start using the cash machines. In 1981, GGA’s cash offices were handling as many as 200 withdrawals every day. Customers queued to use the machine.

It’s enough to drive you crazy!

- Manager of a cash office in Amsterdam, referring to reliability issues of the first ATM machines

Its reliability was sometimes an issue, as errors and overloading the computer centre hampered the operation of the machines. “It’s enough to drive you crazy!,” sighed the manager of one of the oldest and busiest cash offices on Ceintuurbaan in Amsterdam. If it were up to him, he would have gotten rid of the thing.

Gemeentegiro cash machine (1976). </br>Image from Historical Archive ING.

Gemeentegiro cash machine (1976).
Image from Historical Archive ING.

To be sure, the Dutch weren’t the first in the world to introduce the cash machine. It’s widely accepted that the first cash machine was put into use by Barclays Bank in north London on 27 June 1967.

When GGA and Postgiro/Rijkspostspaarbank merged in 1979, the cash machines were connected to the Postgiro/Rijkspostspaarbank computers. The 13 GGA cash machines in Amsterdam were replaced by 16 Postbank cash machines in 1987.

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