Inventor of America’s first ATM: It took ‘determination’ to sell idea to bankers

Donald Wetzel, inventor of America’s first ATM, said it took motivation and determination to create and sell his now groundbreaking invention.

“It took a lot of effort and a lot of determination, really" he told FOX Business’ Charles Payne on “Making Money with Charles Payne” on Friday. "Because at first, most everybody we talked to — the bankers — they thought, 'Man we got tellers. We don’t need a mechanical teller.' ”

The invention took about 11 months to create and debuted at a Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, Long Island on September 2, 1969.

The 90-year-old inventor explained the difficulties in trying to sell his invention to bankers.

“It was discouraging at times because bankers especially back then, they didn’t like change,” he said. “We never sold any banker on you can justify the cost of this machine because you can get rid of a teller or two, never. It was always on the premise that this will be better for your clients, you’ll get more clients.”