Complying with ADA: the case for contactless ATMs

By : Scott Millar

March 04, 2015 12:30 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been around since 1990, but just how far have banks and financial institutions come to full compliance?


Codifications in  the 2010 ADA Guidelines required ATMs to be equipped with speech-enabled technology, headset jacks and other items so visually impaired people could more easily use the machines.


By 2012, more than half of the nation's ATMs still had compliance issues, according to Sam Ditzion, chief executive of Tremont Capital Group, as published in the Wall Street Journal. Since then, there has been significant improvements, and banks have rolled out ATMs with added functionality to better comply with the regulations.


Yet, problems remain as lawsuits continue to allege that providers are not complying with the ADA.


Though manufacturers continue to release products and features to meet global accessibility standards, new technology continues to emerge and provide new methods of interaction at the ATM.


Contactless ATMs allow customers to access terminal functions wirelessly using their contactless EMV bank card or smartphone. This could provide an easier method for customers with sight problems to authenticate themselves at the ATM.



Fully engaged customers


Contactless technology can turn the cost of regulatory compliance into a growth opportunity.


Moreover, innovative applications, such as mobile cash withdrawal, could enable the consumer to pre-stage their ATM visit, using their smartphone to wirelessly log in and receive a tailored experience (options, display colors, font sizes, etc) to suit their needs.


Further down the line, PIN requirements could be impacted with the rise of biometric technology, enhancing the ATM experience for many others with disabilities.


Compliance is important, but so too is engaging customers and helping them receive the best experience. At its heart, the ADA should not be at odds with a bank’s strategy to appeal to customers. “Individuals who have disabilities must not be denied equal access to the services offered by financial institutions simply because of their disability,” explained Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. Complying with the ADA can and should be a positive opportunity to engage more customers, rather than just another compliance requirement.


There’s no doubt that compliance and future-proofing against regulatory issues down the line is important for banks. Contactless technology (and biometrics) may just be the ticket.




Check out NCR ATMs and other financial solutions at NCR Financial Services.

Scott Millar

Global Solutions Marketing Manager

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Based out of NCR’s R&D Centre in Dundee, UK, Scott Millar is responsible for establishing the marketing strategies and enhancing the strength and market share of the NCR Financial Hardware Portfolio. Here, Scott shares his insights.