How does a person with disabilities operate an ATM? Is he entitled to an ATM card? These questions were put to rest by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its circulars in 2008 and 2009 which stated that all banking services including ATM cards need to be offered to customers with disabilities without any discrimination.
RBI stated that banks are advised to take necessary steps to provide ATMs with ramps so that wheel chair users / persons with disabilities can easily access them and should make at least one third of new ATMs installed as talking ATMs.
Union Bank of India (UBI), one of the pioneer public sector banks, launched today India's 'first true Accessible ATM' - a technology presented by NCR Corporation at The Blind People Association, Jagdish Patel Road, Surdas Marg, Vastra Pur, Ahmedabad. An Accessible ATM is disabled-friendly and is designed in a way which allows the complete transaction process to be independently carried by the person with disabilities. This requires provision of wheelchair ramp and audio prompts which not only read aloud screen messages but also provides a complete directional guidance for a customer to be oriented to the machine and use it.
With the need to offer ATM access to a person with disabilities requiring urgent attention, NCR, a leading global ATM manufacturer, has developed exclusive customized ATMs which would truly benefit such bank customers. Keeping in mind the local needs, NCR has developed specialized machines and suitable software which ensures that the person with disability can operate the machine on his own while maintaining the safety of the transaction.
UBI together with NCR deployed one NCR "Voice Guidance Solution" along with NCR Cash Dispenser Self Serv 22e. The talking ATM along with an ASA-approved keypad with Braille stickers, audio sounds, voice-guidance and provision of wheelchair ramps caters to the needs of the visually impaired and would be accessible to persons with disability. The ATM has headphones attached to it so that such customers can hear the instructions and fill in the required data. The labels on the ATMs are written in Braille. There is also an option to blank out the screen as a safety mechanism to ensure that no bystander misuses the pin.
Sharing his views on the occasion, Mr. Nagesh Nayak, Professional Services Practice Manager, NCR said: "We congratulate the Union Bank of India for its latest milestone and taking a big step to ensure ATM access to the disabled. NCR is committed to the cause and our Talking ATM technology reinforces the same. As more talking ATMs are deployed; access to self-service technology is ensured which is making the lives of persons with disabilities more convenient. As a concerned corporate, NCR has been developing specialized machines for India."
Issuing 'Special Cards' for the customers with disabilities can become a challenge for the bank since it is difficult to maintain track of whether correct cards are issued. NCR's "Voice Guidance Solution" is the best fit for this requirement as then the bank does not need to issue 'Special Cards'.