Scots inventor of PIN and ATM technology to be immortalised in street mural

James Goodfellow Picture:  Alan McDiarmid.
James Goodfellow Picture: Alan McDiarmid.
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The inventor of PIN and ATM technology is set to be immortalised in a street mural by an artist and neighbour who wants to honour him.

James Goodfellow OBE created the technology behind the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) but never saw a penny for his ideas.

He was working as a development engineer in the 1960s when he patented the concept for the modern high street cash dispenser.

But James, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, saw no fruits for his labours and unlike many other inventors, never profited from his genius.

But artist Shaun Devenney, who lives next to James, is planning to celebrate his neighbour’s achievements by painting a mural of him on a shop.

The 22-year-old has already taken it upon himself to create a 40x50 inches portrait of James.

He said no one ever believed his neighbour was a true inventor as he was “not a millionaire.”

And Shaun now plans to take his idea one step further by creating a portrait on the side of the supermarket in Paisley.

Shaun said: “Every time I tell people that my neighbour is the inventor of the PIN, no one ever believes me because he is not a millionaire. He didn’t get recognition for it.

“It feels good giving a bit of recognition to James for his achievements.

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“This is something so important in the modern world and should be celebrated as much as possible.

“The owner was fine with it. He thinks it’s a good idea and gave me the green light to go ahead with it.”

James, 80, came up with the idea for a secret pin in 1966 when he was just 29.

James said: “Banks needed something to let customers get their cash in the 60s. They wanted an automated system that allowed customers to do this.

“At the time I was working as a research development engineer at Kelvin Hughes.

“And since it was my job to do things like that I took it upon myself to create a coded card with a numerical pin people could use to get their money out.

“The idea was then patented in May 1966.”

James said he was delighted with Shaun for creating a portrait of him.

He added: “I think it is very nice of Shaun. It does not happen to everyone. Definitely, something I did not want to object to when he told me the idea.

“After all, I had to sign patent papers for 15 countries in the world. Some included the US, Germany and France. I got a dollar for each signature.”

James was appointed an OBE in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his invention.

In 2016 he was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.