Talking ATMs in Mumbai India

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This post is about Talking ATMs in Mumbia India. These ATMs allow blind customers to independently use an ATM. The companies that make Talking ATMs in India also make them in the United States.

Wells Fargo Device

For many years the Law Office of Lainey Feingold has been keeping track of Talking ATM installations in countries all over the world. On September 10, 2011, Google’s “Talking ATM alert” brought news of installations in Mumbai India. The full article, reprinted below, is from the Hindu Business Line. Read the article posted below on the Hindu Business Line website.

United States ATM manufacturers NCR and Diebold are featured in the article. The first Talking ATM in the United States was a Diebold machine, built by Canadian company T-Base, in 1999. NCR manufactured early Talking ATMs for Wells Fargo, who, in 1999, was the first United States bank to make a state-wide commitment to the machines. (Resources at the end of this post.)

Talking ATMs for the Visually Challenged!

Priya Sheth, Deepa Nair

Mumbai, India (September 10, 2011)– “This is the first time that I have seen the world through the eyes of a visually challenged person and it’s an experience that I will never forget,” said a participant at Antarchakshu, an event organised by the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC).

From buying groceries, playing foot ball and even withdrawing money from an ATM, participants were blindfolded and put through a maze of daily chores by the Xavier’s volunteers, to sensitise people on a day in the life of a visually-challenged person.

In fact, the highlight of the event was the talking ATM for the visually-challenged which was displayed at the college. “There are partially talking ATMs which have been deployed in many banks, but they are useless for us as they say the bare minimums like – welcome and thank you,” said Sam Taraporevala, Director of XRCVC who is also visually challenged.

The Reserve Bank of India had stated in its circulars (2008, 2009) that “Banks should make at least one third of the new ATMs installed as talking ATMs with Braille keypads and place them strategically in consultation with other banks to ensure that at least one talking ATM with Braille keypad is generally available in each locality for catering to the needs of visually impaired persons.”

The visually challenged need an ATM that can guide them properly. We have developed a software which will ensure that the visually impaired can operate the machine themselves keeping in mind safety of the transaction.— Nagesh M Nayak, Partner – professional services, NCR.

The company has been developing these specialised machines for different banks. Many of them have deployed these machines on a pilot basis. Each ATM has headphones attached to it so that the visually challenged 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,” said Nayak.

Apart from the machine displayed by NCR, there was also another talking ATM with similar features displayed by Diebold. “We only provide the machine, the voice clips are added by the bank which the ATM is supplied to,” said Rakesh Suryavanshi from Diebold

Although the ATM manufactures were tight lipped about the banks they were supplying their machines to, they were hopeful that the they would be deployed by the banks soon and visually-challenged customers would truly benefit.


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