From the time the first automatic teller machine was invented, it was probably inevitable that someone would come along and create the drive-up ATM. After all, drive-through banking, with live tellers, was first invented in 1928. Drive-up ATMs, also known as drive-through ATMs, are one of the most convenient of banking features, allowing you to withdraw cash from your account without even getting out of the car.
Drive-up ATMs can be found all over the world nowadays. While the origins of the first drive-up automatic teller machine are a bit hazy, these machines spread throughout the United States at a rapid clip throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. And the first decade of the 2000’s saw them becoming ubiquitous all over the world. In September 2001, the Standard Chartered Bank, or Stanchart, opened the first drive-up ATM in the West African nation of Ghana. In 2002, the National Commercial Bank, or NCB, opened the first drive-up ATM on the island of Jamaica. In China, Citibank opened the first drive-up ATM in the summer of 2007, at Beijing’s Upper East Side Central Plaza. In May 2008, the China Construction Bank opened a drive-up ATM in Guangzhou, southern China’s first such ATM. And today, there are plenty such ATMs throughout China; these devices just seem to have a way of catching on.
The typical drive-up ATM is a very secure device, made out of steel and concrete. After all, a drive-up ATM has to contend with all kinds of threats and dangers: would-be robbers and vandals, inclement weather, earthquakes, and drivers hitting into it. These ATMs usually come equipped with extremely loud alarm systems as well. Such alarms are especially important for drive-up ATMs located in remote places.
Using Safety and Precaution at a Drive-Up ATM:
Whenever you use a drive-up ATM, it’s important to keep safety and security in mind. Security precautions for a drive-up ATM are similar to the kinds of precautions you should take at any ATM, in the sense that you should always be acutely aware of your surroundings whenever you use any ATM. Specifically, drive-up ATM safety practices include the following measures:
- Before you pull up to an ATM, take a good look around in every direction to make sure you don’t see anything – or anyone – suspicious.
- Spend as little time as possible with the ATM. Make your transaction quickly and then leave.
- When you are waiting in line to use a drive-up ATM, make sure all your doors are locked. Don’t turn off your engine at any point, either.
- Make sure as you are waiting in line that you can always flee the premises immediately if you have to. That means you should avoid getting sandwiched in between other vehicles, or between another vehicle and the building.
- If anyone approaches your window, drive away. Now is not the time to be friendly or try to be helpful.
- Try to use a drive-up ATM only during daylight hours.
- Keep your cell phone in your lap when you’re at a drive-up ATM. Then, after you withdraw your money, watch your rearview mirrors closely to make sure that no one is following you. If someone does appear to be following you, call the police.
By the way, if you search the Internet for “drive-up” ATMs, you’re bound to find in your search results this famous rhetorical question: “Why do drive-up ATMs have Braille on their keys?” The answer to this question is simple. The law requires that drive-up ATMs include Braille so that people with visual impairments who are riding in an automobile as passengers, or who might be taking a cab, can use these ATMs as well.