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Talking ATM

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A Talking ATM is a type of automated teller machine (ATM) that provides audible instructions so that persons who cannot read an ATM screen can independently use the machine. All audible information is delivered privately through a standard headphone jack on the face of the machine or a separately attached telephone handset. Information is delivered to the customer either through pre-recorded sound files or via text-to-speech speech synthesis.

Contents

History

The world’s first talking ATM for the blind was an NCR machine unveiled by the Royal Bank of Canada on October 22, 1997 at a bank branch on the corner of Bank Street and Queen Street in Ottawa, Ontario. The talking ATM was a result of concerns Chris and Marie Stark, two blind customers, raised with the bank beginning in 1984. Their concerns turned into a discrimination complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 1991.[1] The machine was manufactured by NCR and adapted by Ottawa based T-Base Communications at a cost of about $500,000 Canadian dollars.[2].


Usage

A user plugs a standard headset into the jack, and can hear instructions such as "press 1 for withdrawal", "press 2 for deposit." There is an audible orientation for first time users, and audible information describing the location of features such as the number keypad, deposit slot, and card slot.[3]


Talking ATMs in Australia

National Australia Bank and Westpac have deployed talking ATMs.[4]

Talking ATMs in Canada

By 2002 Royal Bank had 15 talking ATMs in operation and announced an additional 250 units would be installed.[5]

Relevant Legislation and Standards

Talking ATMs in the Philippines

Metrobank uses talking ATMs.

Talking ATMs in the UK

Many of the larger banks in the United Kingdom have begun to deploy talking ATMs. Most recent machines used by banks such as Barclays include a standard audio jack for blind persons to interact with the machine.

Talking ATMs in The US

The first public actions in the United States to achieve ATM access for the blind occurred in June 1999. On June 3, Mellon Bank and PNC Bank were sued in federal courts in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh respectively.[7]. On June 25, 1999, Wells Fargo became the first major bank in the United States to commit to installing talking ATMs. In a legal settlement with blind community leaders, the bank agreed to install a talking ATM at all of its 1,500 ATM locations in California. The company has subsequently installed talking ATMs at all ATM locations in all states.[8] In July 1999, Citibank agreed to pilot five talking ATMs in and around San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Citibank machine represented a unique engineering and research challenge as it uses a touch screen interface and has no function keys to offer access to the blind. All Citibank locations with this kind of machine have been adapted with talking functionality.[9]

The first talking ATM in the United States was a Diebold machine installed on October 1, 1999 in San Francisco’s City Hall by the San Francisco Federal Credit Union. Like the Royal Bank machine, it was adapted by T-Base Communications.[10] In March 2000, Bank of America became the first financial institution to commit to installing a talking ATM at all of its ATM locations nationwide. A legal settlement called for the installation of hundreds of machines with later negotiations for a schedule for the remainder.

By 2005 there were approximately 30,000 Talking ATMs in the United States.Template:Citation needed

Relevant Legislation and Standards


Talking ATMs Today

With the increasing processing power available inside ATMs today, most ATM manufacturers provide the ability to connect headsets to their ATMs. Speech features are now available from lower-cost ATM producers, which means that the technology should gradually appear in off-premise ATM installations as equipment wears out and is replaced.


References

  1. [1] Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
  2. Ottawa Sun, October 23, 1997
  3. American Foundation for the Blind
  4. Web search
  5. http://www.atmmarketplace.com Edmonton Journal January 28, 2003.
  6. [2] Canadian Standards Association
  7. [3] The Philadelphia Inquirer June 4, 1999 (via National Council on Disability Document Archive)
  8. [4] Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian law firm
  9. Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund] (DREDF)
  10. The San Francisco Examiner (via National Council on Disability Document Archive)