An automated teller machine, also known as an automatic teller machine, automated banking machine, cash machine, cashpoint, cashline, minibank, or bankomat is an electronic telecommunications device that enables the customers of a financial institution to perform financial transactions, particularly cash withdrawal, without the need for a human cashier, clerk or bank teller.
There are now close to 3 million ATMs installed worldwide.
On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smart card with a chip that contains a unique card number and some security information such as an expiration date or CVVC (CVV). Authentication is provided by the customer entering a personal identification number (PIN) which must match the PIN stored in the chip on the card (if the card is so equipped) or in the issuing financial institution’s database.
Using an ATM, customers can access their bank deposit or credit accounts in order to make a variety of transactions such as cash withdrawals, check balances, or credit mobile phones. If the currency being withdrawn from the ATM is different from that in which the bank account is denominated the money will be converted at an official exchange rate. Thus, ATMs often provide the best possible exchange rates for foreign travellers, and are widely used for this purpose.