Accessible cash points campaign

For most of us, accessing our own cash is relatively simple. We simply insert our card into the machine, type in our PIN when prompted and select the required amount, all following the instructions on the screen. For those with visual impairments, the process is not so simple.

Making cash machines accessible

[img_assist|nid=483|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=187]As MP for Kingston and Surbiton, I am participating in the RNIB’s campaign for more accessible cashpoints. I was surprised recently to learn that only one in a thousand cashpoints in the UK is accessible to those who are Visually Impaired Disabled. In America, meanwhile, the figure is one in four.

This means that Visually Impaired Disabled People must queue to speak to the bank teller when the bank is open. If they need cash when the bank is closed, many are forced to give their PIN numbers to friends or even strangers, at best denying them independence, at worst leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and theft.

More shocking still is that fact that, since the companies which produce American machines also supply the UK market, many newer cashpoints already have the hardware (that is, headphone sockets) in place. This means that in order to turn newer cashpoints into accessible ‘talking cashpoints’, all that is required is a simple software update.

Cash machines in Kingston and Surbiton

To find out exactly what the situation is in Kingston and Surbiton, I am writing to local banks asking them how many of their machines are accessible to Visually Impaired Disabled People, how many could be made accessible with the software update, and if and when the banks plan to update their machines.

I have also asked how many of their ATMs are wheelchair accessible, and what plans the banks have to develop more. I will keep you updated on the banks responses and would welcome their support on this hugely important issue.

Important campaign

This is a campaign to solve the solvable; an easy step taken by bank branches in this constituency, and this country, could save them money, but more importantly dramatically improve the lives of those who require access to machines.

To show the banks how much support this campaign has in the local community, I have set up a petition. If you, like me, believe that local banks should provide more accessible cashpoints, please follow the link from my homepage to sign it. Together we can make a real difference to the lives of those in our community.

Sign the petition

Only one in a thousand UK ATMs are talking ATMs, accessible to those who are visually impaired disabled. Many newer machines possess the hardware to become accessible, but have not had the necessary software installed by banks.

This prevents Visually Impaired Disabled Persons from independently accessing their own money and can leave them at risk of being stolen from.

I call on banks and building societies with branches in the Kingston and Surbiton area to update the software in machines which already have the hardware required to become accessible and to replace older, non accessible machines with those that are accessible to the Visually Impaired and to wheelchair users.