Automated Teller Machine Definition

An automated teller machine, or ATM, is a type of kiosk that allows bank account holders to perform basic account processes without having to meet with a live bank teller. Users insert a card, often a bank debit card, and type in a personal identification number, or PIN, to validate their identity. They then can deposit cash, withdraw cash, check account balances, and obtain cash advances on available bank credit lines.

ATM use often incurs one or more fees which generally are charged directly to the user’s account. This most often occurs when an ATM is used at a bank in which an account is not held. ATM use has soared in popularity to the extent that many users do not realize the extent to which usage fees are negatively impacting their financial savings and checking account balances. Banks have traditionally used these ATM fees as a substantial source of bottom-line revenue. However, as competition among banks and other non-bank entities has increased, a trend has been developing in which many financial institutions are rebating these fees in an effort to attract new banking clients.