Every time you use a debit or credit card the shop till uses a terminal connected to other computers via a network. Your identification details are automatically transferred from your card to your bank or credit card company for verification, and your balance adjusted accordingly. This also applies if you are shopping online, or over the phone (when booking a cinema ticket, for example). ATMs (also known as cashpoints) allow you to check your bank balance or withdraw cash from wherever you are in the world. The machines are networked to a central computer, which has records of your account in a filing system known as a database. Many banks also provide banking services via the internet, minimising the need for customers to visit a branch.
Financial services have undergone huge changes in recent years as a result of the development of IT systems. This has led to the need for increased security procedures to combat new types of fraud. It has also led to changes in many areas of commerce; for example, the role of travel agents has changed as more people book their own holidays directly online.
Some types of business have disappeared completely as online and computer-based information have taken their place. For example, you rarely see door-to-door insurance salesmen these days! Similarly, new types of business have been created, such as online auctions like eBay. Existing business types have been transformed through the use of IT systems, for example the development of online booksellers such as Amazon.