Barclays has today announced that it has fulfilled its commitment to the Royal National Institute of Blind People's (RNIB) Make Money talk campaign and over 75 per cent of Barclays cash machines across England and Wales are now audio enabled. Barclays is the first major High Street Bank to provide this facility.
Speech output is available on over 3,000 Barclays ATMs through audio jacks so that blind and partially sighted people are able to plug in their earphones to listen to the options being read out to enable them to carry out their transactions. Previously if a blind or partially sighted person wanted to access their money at an ATM, they needed to ask a friend or relative for help or in some cases a passer-by.
"This enhancement to our ATMs provides greater access and choice. We hope the increased independence and privacy it offers will enable a new group of people to access ATMs and undertake an essential activity that so many of us take for granted." comments Bob Bond, Chief Customer Network Officer Barclays Retail and Business Banking.
The functionality will benefit people with a range of disabilities including dyslexia, and other age-related impairments, as well as anyone who simply prefers to take information on board aurally rather than by reading.
Consumers will be able to find their nearest audio ATM using Barclays ATM finder, available through our website, barclays.co.uk.
Barclays customer Rosemary Thorndycraft, from Middlesex, was one of the first people to use the facility when she joined Bob Bond from Barclays, Fazilet Hadi from the RNIB, and Enfield MP Nick de Bois at Barclays Enfield branch, the site of the world's first cash machine. Rosemary had teenage glaucoma and her vision has deteriorated ever since. She now has limited sight and is registered blind.
Rosemary said: "Up until now I wasn't able to use ATMs on my own as I couldn't read the screen. I had to rely on a family member or a friend to help me or get cash back which restricts the amount I can take out. I'm thrilled that blind and partially sighted people are now going to be able to access ATMs independently. It's definitely going to improve my quality of life and make me more independent."
Fazilet Hadi, RNIB's Group Director of Inclusive Society, said: "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. We believe banks in the UK should provide ATMs with audio facilities for their blind and partially sighted customers, across their ATM networks, and now call for other banks to keep up with the times and follow Barclays example."
Make Money Talk was launched by the RNIB in September 2011 calling for banks in the UK to provide ATMs with audio facilities for their blind and partially sighted customers.
Barclays has a history of innovation and the formal launching of the new Audio ATM facility took place at Enfield branch, the site of the world's first cash machine.