Thursday, May 14, 2009

Giving Credit To The Bank

Giving Credit to the Bank

On my way to work this morning, I stopped at the ATM machine and checked my balance, moved money between accounts, and got cash. So, what’s the big deal, millions of people do this every day; it’s just that I was not one of them, until I discovered Talking ATM’s at Bank of America.

I’d been dreaming of ATM’s that talked, because banking on the fly was out of the question. I could go, only, to the ATM at my (former) bank, push the buttons (as committed to memory), and pray that the machine would spit my requested currency out. Success was like hitting the jackpot!

Then, my dream came true. I learned that most ATM’s today are built to speak, some just are never given a voice. I was shown to the precious earphone jack, at the right of the keypad. Plugged my iPod earphones into the ATM and experienced euphoria!

It was so good, I couldn’t stop. Some mornings, I’d drop in at four or five banks on my way to work…looking for the earphone jack, seeing if they all would talk to me. I was rolling in cash, and racking up the ATM fees (a small price for freedom!).

The conclusion of my ATM Listening Tour: Bank of America, hands down the best in accessibility. (You know, accessibility is one of my favorite words, meaning easy to deal with.) ‘B of A’ definitely does that, and they even call it “Accessible Banking.” Their ATM’s were so consistently good, and their “red” Banking Centers, so easy to find; I, without hesitation, became a Bank of America customer.

I am, certainly, no Talking ATM expert, but an enthusiastic advocate, who recommends everyone give it a whirl. I think you’ll like it. I’ve heard Wells Fargo (now also Wachovia) does a good job. HSBC has the jacks, but, so far, no freedom of speech. People have told me that Chase has talkers, but they, for some reason, will not speak to me.

Go, take your ear buds, and try it. If it’s not available at your bank, ask why? By now they should all have voice, don’t you agree?


  1. Great post! The NYS Assembly just passed a bill this week that would require ATM's to provide both an audio and visual system of relaying messages to its customers, provided that this provision would enable those individuals that are
    visually impaired to access ATMs without the assistance of another person. If the Senate passes it would get us further towards your goal of having accessible ATM's at every bank! Will keep you posted..

  2. I use the Bank of America ATMs quite frequently, which is remarkable, because two years ago I was still relying solely on tellers or a friend to get my cash. At least five of my friends knew my PIN number. It may seem insignificant, but being able to access one's money in the same quick, painless manner as other people, with the same level of privacy, is a liberating experience. It's also heartening to know that New York's legislature has recognized the need for banking accessibility. I'll be honest, though, I still like the fact that Bank of America chose to do this on its own, without a policy obligation. Well... I'm sure ADA had something to do with it, but I get the impression that Bank of America emphasizes accessibility because they know it is good business, period. That makes me pretty happy to be their customer. So, yes, kudos to BoA, and to all the others that have jumped on the talking ATM bandwagon.

  3. #1 Please tell blogspot to post warning about sig-in requiremente BEFORE showing the entry box. I wroe a careful comment and lost it when I went to sign in.
    #2 Please bub blogspot to make this text entry box acceccible, withfont size and boldness matching the rest of the page.
    #3 please say how you read newspapres, magazines, and books.
    #4 keep it up

  4. Dear GM,

    Thanks for your blog advice #1, #2…I understand much of this is out of our control, but will forward suggestions to blogger. I just lost a carefully crafted comment myself, and I too, would like that never to happen again.

    #3 I read the New York Times online (will post blog soon about technique). Books are read in audio version via iPod, mostly, otherwise, whatever it takes including: people who see better than I, and I will even indulge in the occasional, prehistoric format known as the cassette tape. I’ve attempted reading books with text-to-speech readers, but this is messy, as you usually must take the book apart, page by page. Reading books in a video magnifier, for me, way too labor intensive. Magazines are tough, if not online, I go straight to the human, and tell them I have a very interesting article I think they should read (aloud).

    #4 I will keep it up!

    Thanks much! Dorrie


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