James Goodfellow was born in Paisley in 1937 and on leaving school in the early 1950s he became interested in the emerging technology of electronics, and decided to make this his career.

Following National Service, it was as a development engineer with Smiths Industries in the 1960s that he developed a machine to provide customers with access to cash outwith normal banking hours.

To make the ATM a reality, Goodfellow successfully designed the Personal Identification Number (PIN) technology which is still used 48 years later in all 2.7 million ATMs worldwide, as well as in ‘point of sale’ (Chip & PIN) terminals accruing around 1 billion transactions each day. Patents cover this invention and were granted around the world with the priority date of 2 May 1966.

In 1967 he joined IBM in Greenock as a Test Engineer and remained with the organisation, working on projects around the world, until his retirement in 1992 from his position as Engineering Laboratory Manager.

In 2006 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his invention of the Personal Identification Number and in 2009 was named a John Logie Baird Award winner for ‘Outstanding Innovation’. In 2013 he was the first inductee into Paymts.com Hall of Fame at Harvard University.

James Goodfellow said: “As a Paisley ‘Buddy’, born, raised and still living in the town, I see this as a great honour, and a particularly poignant one for me. The fact that a technology which now enjoys world-wide usage originated in Paisley surprises a lot of people, but it should not. Paisley always had a reputation for originality, hence the saying, ‘keep your eye on Paisley’. I want to thank the University for granting me this accolade, and I’m extremely proud that I am a UWS Honorary Graduate.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “At UWS we encourage our graduates to be innovators in their field and we are delighted to have been able to honour the achievements of James Goodfellow, who is responsible for the creation of such an important innovation.”



University of the West of Scotland: ‘Inventor of PIN and ATM technology receives Hon Doc from UWS