Talking ATMs in Brunei, Southeast Asia

Bank of America Audio Jack

Today’s Talking ATM Google Alert brought news of the first Talking ATM in Brunei, a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. The country’s official name is Brunei Darussalam, meaning Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace.

The news came via a blog post, reprinted here, by Lim Sheng Ming. Read Lim Sheng Ming’s post on the Asia CNET site where it was originally published. The blog post was based on an article, reprinted in full here, that was published in the Borneo Bulletin and reprinted on the Brunei Direct website. Read the full article on the Brunei Direct website. As the article mentions, Brunei is getting its Talking ATMs after Standard Chartered Bank successfully launched them in Korea, China, India and Indonesia.

Visit the International Issues category of this website for other posts about ATM installations outside the United States. The ATM industry is global, and advocacy must be too.

Talking ATMs For Visually-Impaired (from the Borneo Bulletin)

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei (Janaury 4, 2012)– – Standard Chartered Bank which has introduced the bank’s first ‘Talking ATMs’ in a number of its markets to make banking easier and more inclusive for visually-impaired customers will soon bring the facility to Brunei.

After a successful launch of the machines in Korea, the bank has extended the ‘Talking ATMs’ to China, India and Indonesia. Standard Chartered will launch its latest banking channel in Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Pakistan later on this year.

The ‘Talking ATMs’ allow customers to make cash withdrawals, change their PIN and check their balance through a voice-activated system. Using a headset, available in most branches, customers will be able to listen to a pre-recorded voice that takes them through their banking options. Each ATM has a raised ‘5′ to help visually impaired customers use the keypad.

Millions of people across our footprint are either unbanked or severely underserved by financial institutions; thereby restricting their economic activity. Our Talking ATMs are one of the many ways we’re improving access to finance and creating a more inclusive banking experience for customers. Steve Bertamini, Group Executive Director and CEO, Consumer Banking for Standard Chartered

The bank recently committed to raise US$100 million by 2020 to improve access to eye-care across Asia, Africa and the Middle East through “Seeing is Believing”, its global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness.

Bank to Introduce Talking ATMs in Brunei (from CNET Asia Blogs)

Brunei (Jan 04, 2012)–January 4 is World Braille Day, being the birthday of Louis Braille, inventor of the reading/writing system for the blind. It’s no coincidence that Standard Chartered bank has announced today that it’ll be introducing talking ATMs in Brunei later this year.

For those wondering, the system will be voice-activated and customers will listen to the machine’s responses via a headset. No point in announcing to the world our bank balances.

I’m all for accessibility. Sad to say in Brunei, accessibility laws and awareness are still lacking.

Those interested in following the local accessibility scene, particularly IT accessibility, ought to follow Norali Ali Yusop’s Twitter feed. Norali has been a friend of mine since Secondary 1. Having lost his sight he champions accessibility within Brunei, particularly for the visually impaired.

Simplified Summary

This is a post about the first Talking ATMs in Brunei, Southeast Asia.