An automated teller machine (ATM) or the automatic banking machine (ABM) is a computerized telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public space without the need for a cashier, human clerk or bank teller. On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smartcardwith a chip, that contains a unique card number and some security information, such as an expiration date or CVVC (CVV). Authentication is provided by the customer entering a personal identification number (PIN).
Using an ATM, customers can access their bank accounts in order to make cash withdrawals (or credit card cash advances) and check their account balances as well as purchasing mobile cell phone prepaid credit. If the currency being withdrawn from the ATM is different from that which the bank account is denominated in (eg: Withdrawing Japanese Yen from a bank account containing US Dollars), the money will be converted at a wholesale exchange rate. Thus, ATMs often provide the best possible exchange rate for foreign travelers ], and are heavily used for this purpose as well.
ATMs are known by various other names including automated transaction machine, automated banking machine, cashpoint (in Britain), money machine, bank machine, cash machine, hole-in-the-wall, Bancomat (in various countries in Europe and Russia), Multibanco (after a registered trade mark, in Portugal), and Any Time Money (in India).