John Shepherd-Barron, who is credited with inventing the world’s first ATM and the four-digit personal identification number concept for accessing the machines, has died. The 84 year old passed away May 15 at a hospital in Scotland, but relatives did not disclose his death until May 19, according to published reports.
London-based Barclays Bank installed the first ATM on June 27, 1967. It was a through-the-wall machine that accepted checks coated with radioactive carbon 14. The ATM, which dispensed a maximum of 10 pounds, detected and matched the checks against the PIN bank customers entered on the machine’s keypad.
The first PINs were six digits, but Shepherd-Barron’s wife persuaded him to switch to four digits because it was easier to remember.
Shepherd-Barron based his ATM idea on a candy vending machine, he told attendees of ATM Industry Association conference three years ago.