The highest-altitude ATM in India is situated in Sikkim. But did you know that the world’s highest ATM is located in India’s neighbouring country – Pakistan? The cash machine is located between Pakistan and China in Northern Pakistan’s Khunjerab Pass at an elevation of 4693 m (15,396 ft). It is also special as it runs on solar and wind turbines.
It was constructed within four months by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) back in 2016. This solar- and wind-powered machine aids the residents and staff at this border crossing. Additionally, adventure travellers from around the world also visit this ATM to take pictures with it while making a transaction.
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The ATM is strategically located at the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPEC). It is operational round the clock and grabs special attention during the winter season. The ATM is maintained and monitored by another branch located in Sost City. As per the bank official, to ensure uninterrupted cash availability, the machine is maintained by its nearby branch.
This ATM is capable of bill payment and transfer options. Apart from them, it also provides facilities like cash withdrawal, digital payment of bills and fund transfers. The ATM needs special care for uninterrupted services during winter when the temperature drops below zero degrees.
In an interaction with BBC Travel, NBP ATM monitoring officer Shah Bibi said that around 4-5 million money gets withdrawn in 15 days. Shah Bibi is tasked to monitor and provide real-time data to the Sost branch. She is also responsible for dealing with emergencies relating to satellite connectivity, solar power backup, cash retraction and stuck cards. She told BBC, “It takes approximately two to two and a half hours for a person on the ground to reach and make repairs.”
Bank manager Zahid added, “I feel incredibly humbled to be part of this exquisite nature and technology paradigm shift.” Despite the high pressure and high altitude, residents and travellers especially come to withdraw money at this ATM.
On November 18, 2016, this ATM received a mention in the Guinness World Record for being the highest-altitude automated teller machine.
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