US bank FleetBoston Financial is to install the first "talking cash machines" in New York and New England as part of an initiative to make banking services more accessible to the visually impaired.
More than 16 Fleet talking ATMs - which provide audio instructions over a headset - are already installed and operating in Massachusetts. That total is set to increase to more than 150 throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and the metropolitan New York area by the end of the year.
Over the next two years, Fleet has committed to implement 1420 of the specially equipped machines throughout its Northeast retail service area, from Maine to Pennsylvania.
Robert Hedges, senior vice president and managing director of retail distribution at Fleet, says: "Though our ATMs have Braille instructions, the talking ATMs we are installing will create even greater access for people who cannot easily read information as it is currently presented."