Electronic fund transfer machine, 1998.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Electronic fund transfer (EFT) machines allow a financial transaction to take place between parties without the need for any money or a cheque to change hands physically. The purchaser's credit or debit card is pased through the slot on the top of the machine, which reads information off the magnetic strip on the card. An electronic signal then automatically causes the money to be debited from the purchaser's account and credited to that of the vendor, and a receipt recording the transaction is printed for both parties' records. The use of EFTs has dramatically reduced the number of transactions using cash or cheques, leading to speculation that in the future physical money will disappear altogether. Made by Verifone.