What is a Talking ATM?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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Talking ATMS are automatic teller machines that provide the ability to conduct transactions using both visual and auditory components. Essentially, a talking ATM will provide a means of persons with visual impairments to utilize the ATM by making use of audible instructions. While many ATMs today include an audio component that makes use of a speaker system, the talking ATM employs the feature of a headphone jack or telephone handset that allows the user to conduct the transaction with a degree of security.

The great advantage of the talking ATM is that it makes it possible for a wider range of users to conduct business utilizing an ATM. For many people, a visual display is sufficient to handle the basic banking functions associated with the device. However, persons who have vision issues and cannot read an ATM screen would either have to forego usage or entrust another person to assist them in making a transaction. With a talking ATM, visual impairment ceases to be an obstacle in making use of the automatic teller machine.


By providing a headphone jack that will work with most standard stereo headphones, the talking ATM makes it possible for persons to plug into the system and hear a series of audible communications that allow the user to indicate the type of transaction desired. Once the user has selected the transaction type, audible prompts walk the user through the process. Often, the technology currently in use with a talking ATM will involve either pre-recorded sound files or equipment that is configured to manage a text to speech synthesis process.

While the talking ATM is not yet a universal offering, a growing number of banks are installing this type of ATM at their branches. Because advances in technology are making the talking ATM more cost efficient for companies that provide remote access to bank accounts via ATMs set up in supermarkets and airport terminals. Some experts predict that within a decade, the talking ATM will be the standard for all automatic teller machines.


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