New automatic teller machines will make it easier for blind Iowans to access their bank accounts. Wells Fargo Bank has installed fourteen new A-T-M’s that have an electronically generated voice. Michael Barber of the Iowa Council of the United Blind says a blind person can plug in a standard set of headphones and listen. The machine gives instructions on how to withdrawl money, make deposits or other operations. It may sound like something simple to those of us who can see, but he says it’s liberating for blind people with bank cards. He says up until now, the blind have had to have help in using the A-T-M. Barber says up until now, the only help provided at the A-T-M machines were Braille letters. He says the numbers basically only tell where the numbered keys are located. Barber says a blind person couldn’t read the other important information on the video screen without help. He says you could memorize what buttons to punch, but that system isn’t foolproof either.The machine’s menus could change, and then a blind person is left unable to use that machine. The talking A-T-M’s are located in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Marion, Davenport, Dubuque, Cedar Falls and Sioux City. Barber says the company wants to convert all of its machines by the end of this year. For the location of the machines now in operation, call 800-869-3557.
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