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SBI upgrades to 'Talking ATMs'

Posted on Oct 04, 04:53PM | IBNS

NCR Corporation, India's largest ATM service provider, will transform over 2,500 State Bank of India (SBI) ATMs to Voice-Guided ATMs, which not only allows access to visually impaired people but also people with physical disabilities through ramps for wheel chair access.

SBI's first 'real' ATM for the visually impaired was showcased on Thursday at Antarchakshu, a sensitization workshop, organised by Xavier's Research Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

NCR's 'Talking ATMs' are incorporated with unique software and hardware features which ensures that a person with a disability can operate the machine on his own, while maintaining the safety of the transaction.

These ATM machines are designed as per Access for All (AFA) standards and comprises of accessible key pads, voice-guidance technology, Braille stickers and multi-lingual capability.

Apart from reading aloud screen messages, the machine also provides complete orientation making it easy for the customer to use the machine.

An important security feature of this ATM is that it provides the person an option to blank out the screen as a safety mechanism to avoid shoulder surfing by any by-stander trying to access customer data during the transaction.

Nagesh Nayak, Professional Services Practice Manager, NCR said, "Indian banks and financial institutions are quickly realizing the need to adopt self-service technologies to include the millions of differently-abled people into the financial stream and NCR is committed to helping these institutions by providing technologies that are conceptualised, created, and manufactured in India."

The NCR 'Talking ATM' uses a text-to-speech engine which allows voicing-out the text on the screen in multiple languages for consumer convenience.

Instead to issuing 'Special Cards' for the customers with disabilities since it can become difficult to maintain track of whether the correct card has been issued, SBI has chosen to make its existing ATM network, AFA compliant by simply customizing their existing ATM software stack and upgrading the hardware configuration of its ATM fleet.

India has one of the largest visually impaired populations in the world and hence the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its circulars in 2008 and 2009 stated that all banking services including ATM cards need to be offered to customers with disabilities without any discrimination.