What Is an ATM?: All You Need To Know 2023

Photo by Liliana Drew

A teller machine (ATM) is a specialised computer that allows you to execute bank transactions without the assistance of bank staff. Many ATMs are conveniently located and can be used for anything from withdrawing or depositing money to checking your account balance to moving money between accounts. The official label for what ATM stands for in banking is Automated Teller Machine, emphasizing what it does for consumers.

In this section, we’ll go over what an ATM is, common transactions made at ATMs, how to operate an ATM, ATM fees, how to avoid them, and critical things to know before using one.

What is an ATM (Automated Teller Machine)?

An automated teller machine (ATM) is a type of computerised banking terminal that allows consumers to conduct simple transactions without the assistance of a branch agent or teller. Anyone with a credit or debit card can withdraw cash from most ATMs in the United Kingdom and other countries. ATMs are used in banking transactions; the term ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine, which describes what it does for users.

ATMs are convenient because they allow customers to do self-service operations like deposits, cash withdrawals, bill payments, and account transfers in a short amount of time.

The bank that manages the account, the ATM operator, or both frequently charge fees for cash withdrawals. Some or all of these costs are avoidable by utilising an ATM directly operated by the bank network that owns the account.

Components of an ATM

In banking, ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine and describes what it does in terms of transaction processing. Even if they differ in size and style, all automated teller machines have several basic components. They are as follows:

#1. Input/Output Devices

  • Card Reader

Each automated teller machine contains a slot for inserting a debit or ATM card. The ATM card typically features a magnetic strip on the back and, in some situations, a chip on the front that stores the account information. These details are recognised by the card reader and passed on to the user server.

  • Keypad

Every ATM has a keypad where you can insert digits, clear them, or cancel any transaction. You can use it to input your PIN as well as the amount you want to withdraw. These keypads can be actual ATM buttons or virtual keypads on the touchscreen.

#2. Devices That Produce Output

  • Display Screen

Every ATM has a display screen, usually an LCD or CRT, that displays transaction information, such as steps to complete the transaction or the balance after withdrawal. As a result, it serves as a guide for carrying out a transaction. It provides choices such as PIN changing, quick cash withdrawal, balance checks, and so forth.

  • Cash Dispenser

Bank officials safely stock cash in the automated teller machine. After withdrawing a specified amount from the ATM, you can collect cash from a cash dispenser.

  • Receipt Printer

When a transaction is completed, the ATM’s receipt printer records the kind of transaction, the amount withdrawn, and the remaining balance. During an ongoing transaction, ATMs typically display the question of whether or not the customer wants the receipt. As a result, if requested, you obtain the receipt from the receipt printer.

  • Speaker

Most ATMs have a speaker that provides voice instructions for accessing the machine and performing transactions. As a result, it makes it easier for people to complete the transaction.

How Do You Run an ATM?

In banking, ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine, which describes what it does during financial transactions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using an ATM:

  • Approach the ATM: As you approach the ATM, make sure the surrounding area is safe and well-lit. Be wary of anyone acting suspiciously around you.
  • Insert your card as follows: Locate the ATM’s card slot and insert your debit or credit card, magnetic strip facing down or chip facing up, depending on the kind of card and ATM. If any instructions appear on the screen, follow them.
  • Enter your PIN here: When you insert your card, the ATM will request that you enter your personal identification number (PIN). Enter your PIN carefully using the keypad provided. To prevent others from seeing your PIN, shield the keyboard with your hand or body.
  • Choose your transaction: The ATM will display a selection of transaction options on the screen after you have entered your PIN. Withdrawals, deposits, balance queries, and fund transfers are all common possibilities. Select the transaction to be performed by pressing the corresponding keypad button.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen: For each transaction, the ATM will provide step-by-step instructions in English. Read the instructions well and follow them exactly.
  • Withdrawal: If you prefer to withdraw cash, enter the desired amount and confirm the transaction. The required amount will be dispensed in cash by the ATM.
  • Deposits: If you want to deposit cash or checks, the ATM will walk you through the process. Some ATMs require you to insert checks or cash directly into specified slots, but others may provide envelopes for you to deposit your funds.
  • Completion of the transaction: Once your transaction is complete, the ATM will provide a summary of the transaction details on the screen. Take down any vital information or receipts that are presented.
  • After completing your purchase, the ATM will return your card and cash. Remember to remove your card from the machine. Collect the dispensed cash if you performed a cash withdrawal.
  • Confirm your purchase: Before leaving the ATM area, double-check that you have both your card and cash. Contact your bank right away if there are any problems or anomalies.

When running an ATM, you must always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Shield your PIN entry, don’t share it with anyone, and retain your transaction receipts for future reference.

What Services Does an ATM Perform?

Banking relies on ATMs, where the acronym ‘ATM’ stands for Automated Teller Machine, describing what it does for consumers. The following are activities that can be done using the ATM:

  • Withdraw Funds

The ability to withdraw money from your checking and savings accounts using your debit card and PIN is the most typical feature that ATMs offer. If you use your bank’s ATM, you may be able to withdraw from your line of credit as well. Although you can use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, this type of transaction, known as a cash advance, may incur large costs. 

  • Money to be deposited

Your financial institution’s or its partner banks’ or credit unions’ network-owned machines normally allow you to deposit money into your bank account in cash or via paper check.

  • Examine the account balance

If you use an ATM that belongs to your financial institution, you can check your account balances and recent activity for your checking, savings, and credit card accounts, as well as any lines of credit.

  • Money transfer between bank accounts 

You can use an ATM to transfer funds between bank accounts, such as a checking account and a savings account, or between loans.

  • Pay your bills

A bill payment option is frequently available at your financial institution’s ATM for payees you have registered with or linked to your checking account, such as your credit card.

  • Alter your PIN

At an ATM run by your financial institution, you can change the personal identification number (PIN) on your debit card.

ATM Fees and Restrictions

Fees are frequently associated with the convenience of using these machines

#1. Account Maintenance Charge

The monthly charge for your checking account often covers a fixed number of transactions each month, regardless of whether you use your debit card at a retailer’s point of sale or an ATM. If you surpass this amount of transactions, you will normally suffer a fee. 

#2. Fee for Network Access

If you withdraw money from another bank’s ATM where you don’t have an account, your financial institution will most certainly charge you a network access fee. For their customers, several banks waive fees on a set number of such transactions each month.

#3. Fee for Convenience

Using another bank’s ATM will incur a fee from the institution that owns the ATM for the pleasure of using its machine. For white-label ATMs run by private corporations, the convenience cost, often known as a non-customer premium, may be greater.

In the United Kingdom, ATMs are classified as either free or pay-to-use. The vast majority of people are free. Individually operated machines might charge between £3 and £5 per transaction. Your home bank will almost certainly charge a withdrawal fee if you travel to the UK. Expect to pay a foreign exchange fee as well. These fees are in addition to any fees charged by a UK ATM.

How to Avoid ATM Fees

Withdrawing money from ATMs owned and operated by your bank or the network to which your bank or credit union belongs, such as the Exchange Network or Acculink, is an easy way to avoid ATM fees. Some banks are members of international organisations, such as the Global ATM Alliance. This means you won’t have to pay access fees when withdrawing cash from certain ATMs in other countries.

Another simple method is to plan ahead of time and withdraw more cash with fewer visits to the ATM. This strategy can help you reduce the number of transactions you make, allowing you to stay within the limits set by your regular bank account charge. If you’re always paying extra ATM fees, contact your financial institution to see if a different type of bank account with more debit or ATM transactions could be a better fit for you.

What to Look Out for in ATM

The following are things to consider when getting an ATM:

#1. ATM Charges

Both your bank and the owner of the ATM have fees for using an ATM that is not part of your bank’s network or owned by your bank. Avoiding ATM fees can be accomplished by exclusively using ATMs in your bank’s network and getting cash back when making purchases at a grocery store or other business.

#2. ATM Withdrawal Restrictions

As previously stated, banks set daily limits on how much money you can withdraw from an ATM. This can help prevent fraud if someone obtains your ATM card and knows your PIN. Furthermore, because each ATM only contains a certain quantity of money, restricting the amount of each withdrawal allows the bank to regulate cash movement.

#3. Location and Security

Using machines in well-lit public settings is one way to prevent being a victim of crime when using an ATM. Use your hand or body as a shield to prevent others from seeing you type your PIN. Instead of counting your cash at the ATM, wait until you’re in a more private setting, such as your car, to do it.

How Do You Keep an ATM Running?

To maintain functioning conditions, standard ATM parts should be cleaned, and the machine should be internally inspected. Because ATM-related crime is on the rise, surveillance cameras installed in the booth should be monitored as well.

What Are Some of the Drawbacks of Using ATMs?

A normal ATM cannot perform all banking functions. Machines are easily damaged, and there is a great risk of theft and ATM pin hacking.

Can I Use My ATM Card in Another Country?

You certainly can. You can use an ATM card in a foreign nation, depending on your card association (Visa, MasterCard, or Plus). The amount debited will be in Indian rupees, depending on the exchange rate on the day, and there may be an overseas fee for completing the transaction.

What Exactly Is the New Functionality in ATM?

The UPI ATM is a banking game changer; UPI ATM cash withdrawals are easier, faster, and more convenient than ever. It’s a move towards a more advanced and user-friendly banking experience with cardless capability, interoperability, and secure QR code-based transactions.

What Is the Difference Between a Debit Card and an ATM Card?

They are two different cards, which is what we must understand. An ATM card is a PIN-based card that can only be used at ATMs. A debit card, on the other hand, is a far more versatile card. They are accepted for transactions in a variety of locations, including stores, restaurants, online, and ATMs.


ATMs have increased people’s accessibility and convenience. It enables people to keep cash on hand in times of emergency. It is especially beneficial when you are away from the bank branch where you have an account or when banks are closed. Because you are not reliant on them, you can withdraw cash even during bank holidays or after work hours. 

ATMs frequently allow simple 24/7 access to cash without the need to see a teller or other bank personnel. They also frequently allow you to deposit dollars, view your balance, and transfer money across accounts. ATMs make your money more accessible and are quick and simple to use, provided you understand things like withdrawal limitations and how to avoid incurring out-of-network costs. In banking, ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine, which describes what it does during financial transactions.


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