Cash machine gripes

I have never designed a cash machine / ATM, though I’m sure it’s not an easy job. Complying to standards, FSA regulations, hardware, software, security and then integrating it all with a banking system. All for something that is provided as an effectively free service to customers. A lot to consider. That said, I still hate them and think they’re incredibly poorly executed. For example…

I met this one recently and marvelled so much at my frustrations that I took this picture with intent to write this! For a generally passive consumer and citizen, that constitutes very strong action.


  1. This little rear view mirrors. How can they possibly help anyone more than their own general awareness of what’s going on. Or rather, who has enough wherewithal to keep an eye on their card, their actions, their cash and all the options on the machine, enough to glance far away from their field of focus in order to potentially see someone lurking behind them, in any sort of capacity to benefit?

  2. I’ve seen videos now I these card input areas being compromised with copycat versions that sit over the top and capture card details. Why is it so big and bulky and susceptible to being so easily obfuscated?

3 & 4. This machine had a touch screen interface, and a number-pad, meaning you have to look up and down and figure which input device you’re supposed to be using. Also the screen is so thick that the input areas don’t quite align if you’re tall (or short I’d imagine) [See next image]. This touch screen basically added no value to the usual number-pad / side button only interface.

5 & 6. Why does the receipt come out so far from the input areas and where your cash comes out. It’s like it’s deliberately designed to make you guess where to look, or where things are likely going to happenAlso, having the cheque deposit hole look exactly like the cash dispense hole seems daft.

More specifically and generally with regular (non-touchscreen) cash machines this is my biggest  gripe of all:


You see? Are you over 5′11″ and familiar with this view? Or not getting what I’m getting at? Here’s what I see:


This gets me at least one button press per withdrawal, and results in me having to bob and weave like a boxer, in order to ensure the option I want is aligned with the button I’m choosing.

Now that I outline all this, and after the Photoshop effort, even if very minimal, it all seems incredibly picky and irrational. Maybe I just needed to get it out. A problem shared and all that. Thanks for listening.