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The hole in the wall has long since revolutionised the way we access the money in our bank accounts. Since the world's first cash machine was installed in London in 1967, they've become such a common sight it's hard to imagine town centres without them.

But there are risks, and a useful article on Moneyfacts provides 7 top tips for using cash machines safely.

At number 1, there's a reminder to check the machine before using it. Look out for a hidden camera, keypad overlay or false front covering the card slot - and try to use a machine that's indoors, brightly lit and/or in view of a CCTV camera.

Next, don't forget the old-fashioned risks. Going with a friend can be a good way to put off potential muggers, and you'd probably be well advised to steer clear of a machine with people loitering nearby.

Third, keep your PIN safe. Never tell it to anyone (including bank workers) and always cover the keypad when you're inputting numbers.

Fourth, don't accept help from strangers. If they really are friendly and genuine, they should understand your caution.

At number five, there's a reminder that alcohol won't help your judgement: on a night out, visiting a cash machine early on is probably a good idea.

Sixth, keep ATM receipts and check them against your bank statements so you can spot any unusual activity in your bank account and report it to your bank.

Finally, consider cashback instead. Getting some extra cash at a checkout or a bar can help you avoid quite a few of the risks listed above - and save yourself a walk to the cash machine.

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