New cash machines that can ‘talk’ to customers who have difficulty reading screens have been introduced in the UK.

More than three quarters of Barclays cash machines across England and Wales have had audio technology installed so they can ‘talk’ to customers, the bank said.

Blind and partially sighted people can listen to speech output on more than 3,000 of the ATMs by plugging in their earphones to listen to the options being read out, The Telegraph reported.

Barclays said it is the first major high street bank to provide the facility on such a mass scale up and down the country, which will also help people with dyslexia and anyone who finds it easier to listen to information rather than reading it.

The facility is open to anyone who would normally be able to use the cash machines, so not just Barclays customers, and a spokesman for the bank said the technology will work with most standard earphones.

A Make Money Talk campaign was launched by a UK-based charity, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), last September, calling for banks in the UK to provide ATMs with audio facilities for their blind and partially sighted customers.

“We are delighted that Barclays has fulfilled its commitment to our Make Money Talk campaign and become the first major bank to roll out speech enabled ATMs,” Fazilet Hadi, RNIB’s group director of inclusive society, said.

“We believe banks in the UK should provide ATMs with audio facilities for their blind and partially sighted customers, across their ATM networks,” Hadi said.

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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