First Union National Bank has embarked on an installation programme of audio-assisted or “talking” ATMs across the United States. Over the next nine months, more than 100 machines will be installed in Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida and Washington, DC and other First Union locations.
During the roll-out, the US bank plans to enhance select ATMs to include audio-assistance functionality. Visually impaired customers will be provided with headsets which can be plugged into the machine, so that the listener hears private audio instructions for transaction requests, such as cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, deposits, transfers and payments.
Cece Sutton, executive vice president and retail banking executive for parent company Wachovia Corporation, comments: "Through the installation of audio-assisted ATMs, we are able to offer visually impaired customers greater convenience in accessing their First Union accounts.”
First Union's move follows the recent announcement by Bank of America that it is to undertake a nationwide implementation of audio functionality at the ATM.