Santander launches talking ATMs right across the UK

All machines upgraded to take earphones

BRA15. SAO PAULO (BRASIL), 26/01/2017.- Fachada una sucursal del banco Santander hoy, jueves 26 de enero de 2017, en la avenida Paulista, region centrica de Sao Paulo (Brasil). El presidente de la filial brasile�a del Banco Santander, Sergio Rial, asegur� hoy que la entidad cerr� un "gran a�o" en 2016, con un beneficio de 7.339 millones de reales (unos 2.322 millones de d�lares), a pesar de la crisis econ�mica que vive el pa�s, e intuye "que lo mejor est� por llegar". EFE/ FERNANDO BIZERRA JR

Santander has become the latest bank to launch talking ATMs, rolling them out right across its entire branch network in the UK.

Customers can now plug into the earphone socket on the front of the ATM to be guided through their transaction by voice assistance, either with or without the use of the screen.

See also: NatWest redesigns app to make mobile banking easier for blind people

See also: Are the days of free ATMs numbered?

If they don't have any earphones of their own, they can request some them from the branch, which will be given to them to keep. Meanwhile, all bank staff have been trained to help customers with visual impairments use them with the ATMs.

All the ATMs across the country have the same design, meaning people know exactly how they work in advance. And the bank is holding a series of events across the country to introduce blind and partially-sighted people to the service.

Other helpful features allow customers to save their favourite transactions, so that if they only like to withdraw £20 a week and have the receipt e-mailed to them, for example, they can.

The service has been designed with the help of with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC).

"Helping people living with sight loss to remain independent and carry out everyday tasks with confidence is at the heart of what we do," says Scott Lynch, director of solutions at the RNIB.

"These talking ATMs are a practical solution to some of the challenges faced, helping to empower blind and partially sighted people so they can experience the same freedom as everyone else and retain their financial independence."

According to the RNIB, over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and it is predicted that by 2020 that number will rise to over 2,250,000. Research has shown that only 29% of blind and partially sighted people can manage their finances independently.

Many banks have started introducing talking ATMs, including Barclays, Lloyds, Halifax, Sainsbury's bank, TSB and Nationwide. However, they haven't been universal, and many towns and cities lack one at all.

You can find out where your nearest talking ATM is by visiting this Link website and entering your town or postcode. Clicking on 'Advanced Search' will allow you to look for ATMs offering audio assistance.

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