By : Colin Gordon
February 10, 2016 01:30 PM
Every day the US Census Bureau publishes a feature called Profile America, in which it details a particular fact or set of figures. Recently this landed on the revolutionary drive-up teller, first launched 70 years ago. The first drive-up teller facility opened in 1946 at the Exchange National Bank in Chicago, offering customers 10 teller windows with sliding drawers. “It used to be that going to the bank was somewhat of a chore — with inconvenient hours and locations, and waiting in line for a teller," said the Bureau. "Now, many of us rarely see the inside of a bank anymore. We take care of our financial business at an ATM, by going online, or at our bank's drive-in windows." These days drive-up tellers have been largely replaced by self-service technology with ATMs performing the role of the teller. The first "drive-thru" ATM was built by NCR and installed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1980. Uptake of the drive-up tellers and later ATMs mirrored the rapid rise in drive-thru restaurants. Drive-up or drive-thru ATMs are available everywhere across the US. These ATMs are popular in Middle East African countries and they are now even finding their way into new markets like the UK. Having said that, the US is still by far the largest market for drive-up ATMs, accounting for over 95 per cent of NCR's "Drive-Thru" exports to date. Following the US, the next largest markets are Canada, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Colombia. Machines like the NCR SelfServ 38 drive-up dispense cash, as well as offering additional services such as bill payment, funds transfer, mobile phone top-up and mini-statements. Dick Parkhouse from Barclays, which launched the UK’s first drive-up ATM, explains some of the advantages: "It is ideal for anyone having difficulty visiting cash machines either because they have children in the car or find parking difficult. It is easy to use and very convenient because people can pull in, get their cash and drive off without leaving the comfort of their vehicle." From the first drive-up tellers to today’s multi-functional drive-thru ATMs, financial institutions are continually having to keep pace with the ever changing needs of consumers. In a financial technology driven by self-service re-invention, consumers can now use a variety of devices in a variety of locations to get access to their cash in a convenient and secure manner.