Santander launch talking ATMs to support blind and partially sighted customers

Today, Santander has announced the launch of Talking ATMs across its entire branch network in the UK. Customers now have the option to plug into the earphone socket on the front of the ATM to be guided through their transaction by voice assistance either with or without the use of the ATM screen.

Santander has worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) on the development, testing, roll-out and embedding of the technology. This has ensured that the new service is simple and secure, enabling blind and partially sighted customers to manage their money in a way that works for them.

According to RNIB, over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and it is predicted that by 2020 that number will rise to over 2,250,000. This new service aims to support these customers and will go some way to creating barrier free access to banking and our services.

Susan Allen, Head of Retail Distribution at Santander UK has said: “We are committed to supporting all our customers so they can manage their money independently and with confidence.

“Our work in providing equal service to all our customers remains a priority, and working with RNIB and the DAC to develop talking ATMs is a positive step forward.”

Scott Lynch, Director of Solutions at RNIB, said: “Helping people living with sight loss to remain independent and carry out everyday tasks with confidence is at the heart of what we do. These Talking ATMs are a practical solution to some of the challenges faced, helping to empower blind and partially sighted people so they can experience the same freedom as everyone else and retain their financial independence.”

Customers wishing to use the voice assistant service can either use their own headphones, or if they are in a branch and do not have any, they can request some from a member of staff, which will be given to them for future use. Santander offers a consistent experience with the same style of ATM across every location in the UK, meaning blind and partially sighted customers can use any ATM and will receive exactly the same service, wherever they are in the UK. Customers also have the option to save their favourite transactions, so if they only like to withdraw £20 a week and have the receipt e-mailed to them, they can, making their user journey quick and simple.

Staff across all branches have had training to help customers with visual impairments to use the new talking ATM service. Santander has also invested in a virtual reality app and accompanying goggles created by RNIB, which simulates sight loss. Staff in each branch are using these tools to experience different types of visual impairment and understand how they can continue to support blind and partially sighted customers.

A series of events are being held in Santander branches across the UK, where blind and partially sighted customers have been invited to come and speak to staff to understand how the new service works and also to trial it.

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Notes to Editors

Santander is continually searching for innovative ways to help all of our customer’s bank with us. In partnership with recognised organisations, we rigorously test our website to ensure as much of the content is accessible as possible and compatible with mainstream screen readers. In addition, customers are able to request all literature from us in their preferred alternative format, making it easy to keep a track of their money. Talking ATMs provide additional options for customers to manage their money how they want.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. As at 31 December 2016, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 847 branches (which includes 58 university branches) and 66 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN)
is a leading retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and among the top banks on a global basis. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.52 trillion in managed funds, 12,500 branches and 190,000 employees at the close of June 2016. In the first half of 2016, Santander made underlying profit of EUR 3,280 million.

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