Sharjah: The UAE’s first ‘talking’ ATM (Automated Teller Machine) for the blind and visually-impaired was launched in Sharjah on Monday.
The new machine features a large Braille keypad in Arabic and English and a voice-assisted interface (also in both languages) that can be heard through speakers or headphones for more privacy. It also has three security cameras instead of one found in regular ATMs.
The new ATM, launched by Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), enables the blind and visually impaired to complete the entire transaction unassisted.
The ATM can also be operated by wheelchair-bound persons. Monday’s launch ceremony was attended by Shaikha Jameela Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, director-general of SCHS; Mohammad Abdullah, CEO of SIB; and other senior representatives of the bank.
Walid Al Amoudi, head of electronic channels at SIB told Gulf News the ATM machine has the same security measures dictated by the Central Bank and followed by regular ATMs worldwide.
“The ATM provides visually-impaired users and people with physical disability speed, security, privacy and ease,” Al Amoudi said.
Abdullah said: “This initiative is part of our efforts with the SCHS to help people with disabilities and provide them with the supportive technology that enhances their independence and financial empowerment and helps them integrate into the community. These efforts are in line with the UAE Government orientation towards the empowerment of people with disabilities by implementing the best policies and practices that help them make decisions and have equal participation in all aspects of society.
Shaikha Jameela said: “We are proud of the continuous achievements in the emirate of Sharjah, thanks to the vision of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in making the emirate, and all its cities and suburbs, an ideal place to live for people with disability and all segments of society.”
She added that SIB’s initiative to ensure that people with disability have access to banking services showed a great sense of social responsibility. “They are leading the way in providing training and recruitment for people with disabilities and special ATMs for wheelchair users for over 10 years. Now, they are providing banking facilities to visually impaired people to enable them take control of their financial needs without the need of help from others.”