The World’s Highest ATM Sits Atop a Mountain

The highest-altitude ATM in the world is located at the Khunjerab Pass between China and Pakistan at an elevation of 15,396 feet. Over the past few decades, the ATM has become one of the world’s most universal pieces of technology, but you wouldn’t expect to see one while trekking through the snow-covered mountains of Pakistan. Installed by the National Bank of Pakistan in 2016, the solar- and wind-powered cash machine is truly an unusual sight on the highest paved border crossing in the world. Providing maintenance and refilling the machine with cash on a regular basis is a rather painstaking affair, as the nearest bank is a whopping 50 miles away. Branch manager Zahid Hussain regularly drives up to the machine, braving extreme winds, storms, frequent landslides and treacherous mountain passes to make sure the ATM is in working order. It’s not exactly the busiest ATM in the world, serving mostly border guards who obtain their monthly salaries from it. A handful of locals and a few people who cross the border through the pass also use the machine. Approximately $18,000 to $23,000 is withdrawn from the machine every couple of weeks. Despite its low volume of transactions, the bank takes the ATM seriously because of the people who rely on it. “They might be insignificant in numbers, but they often reside in the huge park itself and don’t have any other medium to transfer their salaries to loved ones and family,” said Hussain.