Region's Biggest Bank Debuts Talking ATMs

Voice technology helps vision-impaired Bank of America Customers

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    Call it a case of putting their mouth where their money is. Next time you pay a visit to your ATM, it may talk back to you.

    Bank of America, the largest bank in the Washington area by market share of deposits, according to the Washington Business Journal, has added a voice technology feature to all its teller machines nationwide.

    While it might startle some of us just looking to grab some quick cash for dinner, the new feature should make banking easier for vision-impaired customers. Instructions are available in English or Spanish.

    And for those who are concerned about privacy, the ATMs also have audio jacks so customers can use headphones for enhanced security.

    “Bank of America has long been a leader in understanding the needs of blind and low-vision banking customers,” said Jeff Thom, president of the California Council of the Blind, an affiliate of the Arlington, Virginia-based American Council of the Blind. “From talking ATMs, to accessible online banking, to Braille bank statements, we are proud to have partnered with Bank of America for almost 15 years.”

    The Charlotte, N.C.,-based bank first made the announcement to install talking ATMs in 2001. It has 18,000 teller machines nationwide. More than 450 ATMs in the Washington region already have the talking feature, according to the Business Journal. Bank of America is also the largest banking institution in the Greater Baltimore area.