July 29 2014 Latest news:

Blind and partially-sighted people are receiving an inferior service when it comes to accessible cash machines.

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The UK was home to the world’s first ATM, but this country is seriously lagging when it comes to modern technology designed to help the blind.

There are only 69 “talking” cash machines in the UK, compared with more than 100,000 in the US. One machine in four in America can talk, as opposed to just one in 1,000 on this side of the Atlantic.

Countries such as India, Australia and Canada are also much better served by these machines than the UK, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which said the UK banking industry was missing out on at least 100,000 potential new ATM customers.

“For years now, the RNIB has been hearing about blind and partially-sighted people’s frustrations at not being able to access their own money,” said Hugh Huddy, the institute’s campaigns officer for inclusive society.

“While sighted people can enjoy the ease and convenience of taking cash out of Britain’s 64,000 ATMs anytime of day or night, most blind and partially-sighted people have to make special trips to the bank, or get cash back in large amounts to make sure they have enough money.

“This situation is unacceptable when audio facilities can be easily enabled on many cash machines.”

The RNIB is calling for people to ask their banks to upgrade their ATMs to talking machines.

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