Chetan B S, who is visually impaired, turns to friends, family or colleagues for withdrawing cash from ATMs. Sometimes he even avoids going to ATMs and goes to banks for the same.
“It’s really difficult for people like us to manage with the ATMs which are not talking ATM. Next issue is with the keypad they are not designed for us (visually impaired) it’s very difficult for us, there should be Braille keypads so that we can touch and do the transaction,” said Mr Chetan.
RBI issued guidelines in 2014, making it mandatory for banks to install ‘disabled friendly’ ATMS. Ramps should be installed in ATMs to help the physically disabled and every new ATM being made should be a Talking ATM with a Braille keypad along with the normal one.
Swati Varadkar, , Branch operational Head at Axis bank said,“We do not have these ATMs. These operational functions are outsourced.to external agencies, so everything is regulated by the reconciliation team in Mumbai. Hence, the branch has no watch on it. There might be a deadline for the same but we are notified yet.”
Talking ATMs come with their own problems – the sound being very low, making it impossible to hear without headphones. The instructions in the ATMs also seem to be complicated.
Mr. Sandesh H R, Chief trainer, EnABle India NGO said, “The RBI is the regulating body. It must regulate all such norms related to the disabled in all the banks. It is really very hard for the disabled to transact at the ATMs. There are several banks that are not even aware of these notifications or behave very carelessly about these norms. Though everything is so digitalized, we are using computers easily but still the ATMs are not made easy to use that is day to day usage. ”
The issues faced by hundreds of people like Chetan accessing the banking system have remained unsolved, though the system is being made simpler for the customers over the years.