Accessibility at the ATM - improving the experience for the visually impaired

By : Robin Angus

August 10, 2017 12:00 PM

When banks are rolling out ATM solutions, it's vitally important they consider the needs of all their customers, especially those who may have accessibility issues such as visual impairments that may make it difficult to complete interactions in the same way as most people.


That's why investing in tools that can meet these challenges is so important in order to ensure full financial inclusion, and it's an area NCR has always had a strong focus on, which is allowing banks around the world to offer a fuller range of accessibility services to their customers.


Improving accessibility in the UAE


One bank that has recently taken advantage of the accessibility solutions offered by NCR is UAE-based Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), which is set to upgrade its ATMs with NCR audio-guided technology. This allows visually impaired customers to plug in their headphones and hear audio guidance that enables them to securely navigate the devices without the need for additional assistance.


As around 98 per cent of ADIB's cash transactions are conducted through the bank's ATM network, ensuring all customers are able to interact with the devices easily is essential. The bank's fleet also offers a range of other services, such as utility bill payments, money transfers and charitable giving, so accessibility offers much more than just easy access to cash.


Head of retail banking at ADIB Philip King said: "In line with the Central Bank's commitment to the visually impaired, we are pleased to be partnering with NCR in our efforts to better meet the needs of visually impaired customers, and to empower them to take control of their transactions and have secure access to our ATM services."


Meeting the needs of the visually impaired


ADIB will therefore become the latest financial institution to benefit from NCR's unique software and hardware features. These include having on-screen messages and instructions read aloud to help provide complete orientation and make the transaction easier to navigate.


Wael El Aawar, managing director for NCR in Saudi and Gulf, also noted that NCR ATMs are designed with Access for All standards in mind and offer a large number of design and functionality features to meet the needs of the visually impaired.


"Accessible key pads, voice-guidance technology, Braille stickers and multi-lingual capability [allow] visually challenged customers to securely execute standard ATM transactions such as withdrawals, deposits and payments without any help," he said.


Another key factor in NCR's ATM accessibility is the ability for the user to blank out the screen. This acts as a security mechanism that prevents any other bystander from accessing confidential customer data by 'shoulder surfing' during a transaction.


This isn't the only security feature that could benefit the visually-impaired in the coming years. Contactless ATMs, for example, are likely to be a key factor in the fight against skimming in the coming year, by removing the need to physically enter a card into a machine.


But the technology could also help visually impaired people by making it easier to authenticate themselves, while innovative applications such as mobile cash withdrawal or setting up presets on their smartphone can enable them to receive a tailored experience at the ATM.