The world’s most extreme ATMs

How far would you go to get some cash out or check your account balance? With over 3 Million ATMs now installed globally, thankfully most of us don’t have to venture far.  The current ratio of ATMs compared to population is 420 per million (source: Retail Banking Research – Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2020).  Although ATM density varies globally, it’s good to see that an ATM can be found in every corner of the planet, even in some pretty remote parts – as we can see in a recent report from the ATM Industry Association.

Here’s a look at the 10 of the most extreme ATM locations found, where consumers can get secure, reliable access to their cash:


Wells Fargo operates a pair of NCR ATMs at McMurdo Station near the South Pole. The ATMs serve around 1,200 residents at the US scientific facility. Crews need to be sent in the summer to maintain and service the machines. In the winter, it’s up to station’s researchers to do the job.


At the other end of the planet, The North West Company operates two ATMs at Arctic Bay on Baffin Island. Serving a population of around 800, the ATMs are among the most northerly anywhere in the world.


Some 1,150km from Perth, the Tjuntjuntjara Aboriginal Community sits in Australia’s Great Victoria Desert Nature Reserve. Mail comes by plane, supplies get through on dirt tracks, but cash is still required to fuel the local economy.

The town’s general store hosts an ATM that handles 500 withdrawals and 200 balance inquiries per month. It relies on satellite communications to transact as there is not even mobile service.

Meanwhile, ANZ Bank has two Smart ATMs in Yulara in Australia’s Northern Territory, which is about 18 km by road from Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock.


Wells Fargo operates ATMs in Barrow, Alaska, which has the distinction of being the northernmost city in the USA. Located above the Arctic Circle, the town has a population of just over 4,000.


Santa’s own ATM machines are located in Inari, Finland and are the most northerly in the European Union. They’ve been equipped with an upgrade kit that blows air out of the machine to keep the cold and snow from getting in.


The Norwegian island of Svalbard is home to the world’s most northerly ATM. The town of Longyearbyen has around 2,000 inhabitants. It’s so far north the sun rises on March 8th and sets on October 25th.

Silk Road

High up in the mountains of Pakistan, only cold resistant ATMs will do. One such ATM is located at 7,800 feet above sea level in Sust, a remote locale in the upper Hunza Valley, which forms part of the historic Silk Road.


Arguably the highest-altitude ATM is at Nagqu in Tibet, which is around 14,300 feet above sea level. The Agricultural Bank of China operates the little-used machine, which is about 186 miles from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.


Before Fuerte Olimpo got its first ATM, residents had to travel 300km to use the nearest cash machine. Now, technicians fly in weekly to maintain the ATM, which is located in one of the least accessible areas of Paraguay.

Floating branches

In 2014, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia launched four special boats complete with ATMs in order to reach millions of people living among the 17,500 islands that make up the archipelago.

While this may seem like a bit of fun from the ATM Industry Association, it’s actually got a serious point – despite the growth of online and mobile banking, the ATM can still bring a huge array of banking services to people in far-flung corners of the world. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated self-service technology, where ATM dispensers have to operate in a range of different climates we can bring the self-service experience to people in temperature ranges as cold as -35c to +50c .

Written by Colin Gordon

Colin Gordon

Colin Gordon is a Global ATM Marketing Manager based at NCR’s R&D Center in Dundee, Scotland. Colin is responsible for the marketing of NCR’s financial hardware portfolio with a specific focus on activities such as demand generation, sales enablement, market analysis and customer engagements for the ATM business.

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