THE RAPID RISE OF THE ATM CARD

ATM card use has been on a rapid rise, says David Robertson of the Nilson Report of Santa Monica, Calif. In 1984, there were 2.5 billion ATM transactions; by 1989, this had more than doubled, to 5.2 billion transactions.

ATM cards are used twice as often as credit cards; last year there were 2.9 billion Visa and Mastercard transactions.

In 1989 there were 72,600 machines in the US. Worldwide there are 283,300 ATM machines in use.

Cardholders use their ATM cards an average of 5.8 times per month.

Cash withdrawals account for 87.5 percent of all ATM transactions.

The biggest collection of ATM machines at one site is at BayBanks Harvard Trust in Cambridge, Mass. Ten machines line the wall; each ATM averages 19,000 transactions per month.

But even ten is not enough to keep the lines away. On a busy Thursday afternoon, several people wait their turn in line, without complaint. Quips one young man, ``I don't mind waiting. Have you seen the lines for tellers?''

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