HSBC UK has announced that it has rolled out over 1,500 “talking cash machines” across the UK, allowing customers who are blind or partially sighted to receive spoken instructions. Working in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the audio service will make it easier for those living with sight loss to retain their financial independence.
According to the RNIB. over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and of these almost half feel cut off from people and things around them. Everyday tasks, such as getting money out or checking a bank balance on a cash machine can be difficult when you are blind or partially sighted, with over a quarter of people living with sight loss saying that getting information from banks was not accessible. People with sight loss will be able to use HSBC ATMs independently by simply plugging headphones into the cash machine audio jack and listening to instructions.
In addition to talking cash machines, HSBC UK already offer a number of services to assist visually impaired customers, such as Braille, large print and audio statements, templates for cheques, credit slips and signing cards, and a secure key with audio (amongst others). The launch of voice recognition technology last year also means that visually impaired customers can simply use their voice as their password, rather than having to read out a pin or a password that may have been written down.
Steve Tyler, RNIB’s Head of Solutions, Strategy and Planning said:
“Helping people living with sight loss remain independent and carry out day to day tasks with confidence is at the heart of what we do. By offering practical help – such as Talking ATMs – our aim is to empower individuals so they can experience the same freedom as everyone else.”
Stuart Haire, HSBC’s Head of Retail, UK commented:
“Everyone has the right to be able to access and manage their finances easily and independently and we are continually developing ways to make our products and services more accessible to everyone. The rollout of Talking ATMs is just one of the ways we are supporting people living with sight loss to better access and retain independence managing their finances.”
If you would like to find your nearest talking cash machines, you can search for them on HSBC’s website.
HSBC isn’t the first bank to introduce this feature to their cash machines; Co-Op Bank started installing the ATMs with this facility back in 2013.
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