Technological innovation in general and information technology (IT) applications in particular, have had a major effect in banking and finance. Following Garbade and Silber (1978), this research reviews the effects on banking organisations with reference to front office or external changes as described by the nature of product and service offerings. Following Morris (1986) and Quintás (1991), the research also considers innovations in the back office or internal (operational function) changes brought about to banking organisations. Outstanding IT-based innovations are considered and grouped into four distinct periods: early adoption (1864-1945), specific application (1945-1965), emergence (1965-1980) and diffusion (1980-1995). The research then discusses the potential impact of more recent innovations (i.e. electronic purses, digital cash and Internet banking). As a result, the research provides an historical perspective on the main drivers determining adoption of technological innovation in retail banking markets.