Automated Teller Machines (ATM)

The globalization of automated teller machines (ATMs) is one of the newer frontiers for expansion for US financial networks. The current system combines a number of worldwide communication switching networks, each one owned by a different bank or group of banks. A global ATM network works like a computerized constellation of switches. Each separate bank is part of a regional, national, and international financial system. After the customer inserts a credit card, punches a personal identification number (PIN), and enters a transaction request, the bank’s computer determines that the card is not one of its own credit cards and switches the transaction to a national computer system. The national system, in turn, determines that the card is not one of its own, so it switches to an international network, which routes the request to the US Global Switching Center. The center passes the request to a regional computer system in the US, which evaluates the request and responds through the switching network. The entire time required for this process, from initiation at the ATM until the response is received, is reassured in seconds. The use, acceptance, and growth of systems like this will revolutionize the way international payments are made well into the 21st century.