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Having spent my career working in the international technology sector of financial services, I have always found one of the more interesting aspects of this profession to be the vast amount of statistics and other data that makes its way to my desk.

If you consider them with a degree of thoughtfulness, it doesn’t take long to realize that these seemingly disparate bits of information can help demonstrate everything from the global history of our industry and the direction of its growth to how best we can serve the end users of our rapidly evolving technologies.To that end, I ask, in no particular order:  Did you know?

•  Americans use their bank card an average of 9.56 times per month.

•    Americans value their bank card more highly than their daily newspaper or cable TV.

•    The first cash dispenser was installed in New York in 1939 and then dismantled again after six months because it was mainly used by gamblers and prostitutes.

•    The first modern cash dispenser with a magnetic card reader and a direct line to the bank computer was installed in Cologne, Germany in 1978 by Nixdorf Computer (now known as Wincor Nixdorf).

•    Friday is the day of the week when ATMs are most frequently used.

•    Approximately 50 percent of the amount withdrawn from an automated teller machine is spent within a short space of time.

•    There is an ATM in the McMurdo Station in the Antarctic. It is used by 200 people in winter.

•    ATMs in South Africa are outfitted with pepper spray, among other things, to prevent tampering.

•    Approximately 30 percent of all ATM transactions in casinos are denied. The reasons are incorrect PINs, overdrawn accounts and withdrawal limits.

•    According to Money Magazine, bank employees have almost the highest level of job satisfaction.

•    The first bank branch in the US, which has been operating without interruption since 1781, is still open. It is Bank of North America / Wachovia.

•    The first credit card was launched in the US in 1946.

•    There was once a bank in the US where only women worked. It was the First National Women’s Bank of Tennessee, established in 1919.

•    The first credit card that could be used in different stores and restaurants, etc., was the Diners Club Card, which was launched in 1950.

•    The Bank of Vernal (Utah) is the only bank in the world to have been built using bricks sent by mail. When the building was constructed in 1919, this variant was cheaper than hiring a haulage firm.

•    The science of coins and notes is called “numismatics.”

•    The name of the European currency “Euro” was suggested to the European Council by a German delegation led by Germany’s then Minster of Finance Theo Weigel.

•    Only 5.3 percent of all ATM users always put their money in their purse or wallet without counting it.

•    The world's highest denomination note is Hungary 100 Million B-Pengo, issued in 1946. It was worth about US$ 0.20 in 1946.

•    The largest banknote ever put into circulation is 35.6 cm x 21.4 cm. It was issued in the Philippines in 1998 and there were only 1,000 of them.

•    The smallest banknote was 41 mm x 32 mm. It was issued in Morocco in 1944.

•    There is a person who is shown on banknotes in a total of 34 countries. It is Queen Elizabeth II.

•    The world’s most valuable banknote is a $1,000 bill dating from 1890. Called the “Grant Watermelon,” it was sold at auction for $2,255,000.

•    A total of 18 animals are depicted on all Euro coins.

•    China was the first country to have paper money. It was introduced during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1399).

•    Approximately 50 percent of Europeans prefer to pay bills above €100 in cash.

•    Spain has Europe’s highest density of ATMs per inhabitant.

•    The Bank von England is also called “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.”

•    Most bank robberies are committed on Fridays between 9 and 11 a.m. The reason: It is erroneously assumed that the largest amount of money is held at branches during these times.

•    1 million $1 bills weigh exactly one ton and are 110 meters high when stacked.

•    The $1 bill weighs exactly 1 gram.

•    There are ATMs in Japan that heat the banknotes to 392° Fahrenheit for 1/10th of a second in order to decontaminate the bills before they are issued to customers.

•    The $5 bill is only in circulation for about 15 months before it can no longer be used. The $1 bill has a useful life of up to 18 months.

•    US banknotes can be folded 4,000 times before they tear.

•    The lifespan of a $100 bill is four times longer than that of a $1 note.

•    Approximately 3 out of 10,000 banknotes are counterfeit.

•    There are currently 191 official currencies in the world.

•    There are 293 different ways of changing a $1 note into coins.

•    The dollar symbol “$” is derived from the Spanish currency Peso.

•    Approximately 30 million pennies a day are produced in the US.

•    A penny lasts around 25 years before it has to be replaced.

•    The cost of producing a penny is greater than its value.

•    Particularly good dollar forgeries are called “super dollars.”

•    The biggest replica of coin is more than 9.5 meters in height, is located in Canada and is called “The Big Nickel.”

•    The financial sector in Switzerland accounts for more than 11 percent of the entire country’s gross domestic product.

•    The world’s three largest financial centers are London, New York and Hong Kong.

•    The Spanish Dollar was the world’s first currency. It is also called “Piece of 8” and was legal tender in the US up to 1857.

•    The US was the first country to adopt the decimal system for its currency. It introduced the dime and cent in 1792.

And there you have it, a collection of statistics about our industry from my personal archives, all of which originated from a wide variety of sources.  While I’ve admittedly not researched each one to ensure 100-percent accuracy, I believe they tell a compelling – and certainly entertaining – story.  What additional facts might you have about our industry?












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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Jayson Hahn
    92531943
    Great article.
  • Tom Harper
    92531360
    Great bullet points, Alan! Very interesting. For a little more on the history of ATMs, along with some stats, we've organized this page: http://www.atmmarketplace.com/research/313/ATM-History
  • Mark Riddell
    89376317
    Really cool article Alan. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.
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Alan Walsh
Alan is executive vice president of the Banking Division at Wincor Nixdorf Inc. Alan oversees all aspects of the company's banking solutions business in the U.S. Additionally, he is involved in helping grow Wincor Nixdorf's successful U.S. service business.
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