Talking ATMs Demystified

Talking ATMs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently asked the banks to set up only ‘talking ATMs’ from 1 July, 2014. The RBI also directed the banks to come up with a plan to convert all the existing ATMs into ‘talking ATMs,’ along with Braille keypads.

An RBI directive issued in 2009 had asked banks to make one-third of the ATMs voice-enabled. But it later revised its directive to make all ATMs voice-enabled.

This is part of a number of directives issued by the RBI to make ATMs accessible for the differently abled. Some of the other directives include building ramps for wheelchair users, providing magnifying glasses for the visually impaired, etc.

The ATM cards to be used at these ATMs will be the same as those issued at present; however, the machines will be different. ‘Talking ATMs’ are to be designed in such a way that the keypads of the ATM can be accessed by a wheelchair-bound user. These will also be equipped with a headphone and a voice-guidance technology in multiple languages. There should be Braille stickers for the visually challenged.

Banks have the option of either setting up new ATMs or upgrade the existing ones by changing the software and the hardware.

Voice-enabled ATMs work on the text-to-speech format. The text on the screen can be heard using the headphone provided with the machine and it explains the user how to operate the machine.