[Dave Birch] There’s a great story in the news today. It had never occurred to me that Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) had an inventor. But they did. And in a great tradition of financial innovation — including current accounts and overdrafts — he was Scottish. And in the Queen’s birthday honour’s list, James Goodfellow (69) who lives in Paisley in Renfrewshire has been awarded an OBE. He devised the mechanism of keying in a number code to cash machines in the 1966.

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I’ve just heard Mr. Goodfellow interviewed on the BBC’s Today programme and he said that he thought that PINs would have been replaced by biometrics by now. Interesting. Especially given the rash of PIN-based fraud going on around the world at the moment: Gartner are now estimating that the latest mass PIN compromise in the US will mean direct consumer losses of at least $100 million and possibily $1 billion.

But did he help to invent the ATM? Well, it’s unclear who did, but now that I’ve that discovered that a Turkish immigrant persuaded (what is now) Citicorp to trial an ATM for six months in 1939, I feel that I’ve learned something new and therefore had a good day. Incidentally, the bank pulled the plug citing lack of customer demand, the inventor noting that the only ATM users were gamblers and prostitutes who didn’t want to deal with human staff.

1 comment

  1. Hi,
    Have you got the contact details for James Goodfellow, I am interested in making contact with him.
    Regards
    Rodney Lee
    [Dave Birch] I don’t I’m afraid, but if anyone contacts me I will pass it on to you.

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