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RNIB calls for accessible ATMs at financial services inquiry

RNIB chair Eleanor Southwood stressed the importance of banks providing information in a format that blind and partially sighted people can read

Eleanor Southwood

The importance of making ATMs accessible to blind and partially sighted people has been highlighted during a Treasury Select Committee inquiry into financial services.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People’s chair, Eleanor Southwood (pictured), highlighted the need for ATMs to include an audio output, which enables a person to use headphones and be guided through the screen options.

She also stressed the value of making online banking and apps completely accessible, welcoming the opportunity to work with banks on their digital services.

“We know of a bank who changed their website and later consulted with us. How much better it would have been to have worked with us from the start, it would have saved them money too,” Ms Southwood said.

The inquiry is focusing on consumer access to financial services. The session that Ms Southwood attended explored whether certain groups of consumers are being excluded from obtaining a basic level of service from financial service providers.

Cash machine network operator, LINK, has a free app that helps people to locate the closest ATM with audio assistance features.