Co-operative Bank customers can add a new member to their list of virtual friends alongside Siri, as Co-op announced the roll out of talking cash machines designed to make services easier for the blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
According to The Telegraph, over 400 instruction-speaking ATMs went live on April 23, 2013. The bank also announced plans to install more than 2,000 of these ATMs by the end of 2014.
Cardholders with Link and Visa accounts from any banks are able to use the machines, and can hear instructions by plugging headphones into the ATM. The ATM screens were also given a makeover, with new enhanced, high-contrast screens that will help those who are partially sighted.
Currently The Co-op has a 2,700 ATM network throughout the UK, and commented they expected to have more than 1,000 to include the new function by the end of 2013.
David Fawell, head of payments at Co-op Bank, said to The Telegraph, "We are committed to implementing talking and high contrast services on our cash machines."
"Our aim is to extend this out to over 2,000 cash machines which is three-quarters of our entire estate by the end of 2014."
Fawell additionally explained the bank's strategy to make services available in all its bank branches, and in the majority of cash machines at Co-op supermarket locations.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People charity previously created a campaign called, "Make Money Talk," to help promote awareness and encourage the installation of ATMs with audio features for customers in need. The charity is pleased with the initiative, and fully supports the launch of the new ATMs.
NatWest also announced similar commitments, and reported they were working to make 80 percent of its 4,800 cash point facilities, which are NatWest-branded or sister company RBS-branded, speech-enhanced within the next few years.
A Co-op banking customer, Mark Ellis, told The Telegraph, "I feel it's compulsory for banks to assist their blind or partially-sighted customers and I hope more will commit to launching the ATMs soon."
To read the full story at The Telegraph click here.