HSBC rolls out over 1,500 talking ATMs across the UK to help blind and partially sighted customers

Rebecca Smith
Talking ATMs could be at a branch near you
Talking ATMs could be at a branch near you (Source: Getty)

HSBC UK has rolled out more than 1,500 talking ATMs across the UK to help blind and partially sighted customers.

People will be able to use HSBC cash machines independently by plugging headphones into the cash machine audio jack and listening to instructions. The location of the jacks across machines will be consistent and have a raised symbol of headphones beside them to make use easier.

Read more: Here's how this bank is planning to help customers with dementia

The bank's new machines have been added to HSBC's existing services for visually impaired users, including Braille, large print and audio statements, templates for cheques, credit slips and signing cards.

The launch of voice recognition technology last year also means that customers can use their voice as their password, as opposed to having to read out a pin or a password that may have been written down.

The ATMs and the audio service have been developed in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to make it easier for those living with sight loss to retain their financial independence.

Steve Tyler, RNIB’s head of solutions, strategy and planning said:

Helping people living with sight loss remain independent and carry out day to day tasks with confidence is at the heart of what we do.

By offering practical help – such as talking ATMs – our aim is to empower individuals so they can experience the same freedom as everyone else.

According to research by the RNIB, over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and almost half feel cut off from people and things around them. Over a quarter said getting information from banks was not accessible and everyday tasks such as getting money out or checking a bank balance on a cash machine can be tricky.

A full list of the talking ATM locations can be found here.

It marks the latest effort by HSBC to broaden its services and make banking more accessible for everyone.

Last month, it announced plans to position itself as a "dementia friendly bank", bringing out an advice guide for those living with dementia to provide guidance on handling their finances. It has also been training staff so they learn how they can help.

Read more: HSBC announces 10 gender neutral titles to help trans customers

And in March, HSBC announced a series of new measures it was rolling out to try and improve the banking experience for transgender and non-binary customers too.

10 gender neutral titles are being made available to new and existing HSBC UK customers, allowing those who don’t identify as a particular gender or don’t want to be identified by gender, to choose one that works for them.

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