By Jim Mullen, CBS2 Chicago
It may look like any other Automated Teller Machine (A.T.M.) machine, but it's not. This A.T.M. contains an audio guide. It’s for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Chicago-based Chase Bank in the U.S.A. has installed the first fully accessible, state-of-the-art A.T.M. The Bank and Chicago Lighthouse are partnering to train visually impaired people on using A.T.M's.
The bank has donated up to 300 sets of earphones, which the Chicago Lighthouse has been distributing. The earphones can be used at any accessible A.T.M.
There's a headphone jack located next to the keyboard on the machine. When these headphones are plugged in, there’s an audio voice that guides users through the steps required to withdraw money.
The audio feature is a step ahead of the Braille keypads on most A.T.M's. As Mr. James Kesteloot, President and Executive Director of Chicago Lighthouse said, "There are a lot of people who are blind and might not be able to read Braille and they might have lost their vision later in life or have conditions that impact their ability to feel small things."
Mr. Kesteloot added: "This initiative allows people who are blind to utilise A.T.M's throughout the metropolitan area. All corporations, whenever they put out any equipment for the general public, they should see to it that the equipment is accessible to people with disabilities."
The A.T.M. also has a special safety feature. A logo covers up the screen. Blind or visually impaired persons need not worry about someone seeing their pin number or seeing them withdraw money, and grab it as they leave the machine.
Chase’s predecessor Bank One was a pioneer in providing accessible A.T.M's for visually impaired people, installing the first ‘talking’ A.T.M's in Illinois and Ohio in 2001. Today, all 1,200 Chase A.T.M's in the Chicago area are accessible to people who are blind.