How we came across talking A T M's in Taranaki

When out and about in Stratford, shopping of course, we stopped at the Westpac bank to get some money out.  It was due to a blind lady wanting to stop there, that we stopped.  Not being a Westpac customer I perhaps wouldn't have necessarily used it otherwise. My wife Narelle (who is sighted) noticed a plughole where a set of headphones could go; so then we wondered if it actually spoke (as I have heard of voice enabled ATM's, but not used one before). Up until this stage, none of us were aware that we had any in Stratford - let alone Taranaki! Enquiring inside the bank to see if it was audio enabled,  gave us no results - as the staff didn't even know if it was or not!

The next day, we got our hands on a pair of earphones (with a 3.5 mm plug on it), then went back to the Westpac ATM. Narelle gave us a general description of the layout of the machine.  We plugged in the headphones and then it started talking.  To my surprise, it gave me the layout of the keyboard, through to where the card went in, receipts came out, and of course where your money came out. What a find! Much to our surprise, this meant we could at least use it, even if I was a TSB customer - it at least gave me access to my main account.  After this, we went back into the Stratford Westpac on the Monday and told the staff that the machine was in fact a voice enabled machine, and that with a set of headphones, it became accessible. This is something that none of the staff seemed to be aware of. I asked if they had been trained to use the machines with audible cues, and none of them knew anything about it. I believe there had been no formal staff training on how to use it, nor how to show a blind customer how to use it. If the staff did not know how to use the talking ATM functions, then they couldn't train us (or their other blind customers) how to use it either.

While up town, we also wanted to test out the other local ATM's and see which ones (if any) other than Westpac, were actually accessible. To our surprise, there was actually a second one in Stratford - at the ANZ bank.  It spoke as well.  There were two other banks in town that looked as though they had the headphone jack, but were not voice enabled; and two that we couldn't even use at all (actually making it four of them that were inaccessible).  Maybe at a later date those other two might be done? Who knows what the future holds?
I have heard from some people that ASB bank may have done a few of their machines as well?  I have no ASB here in town to test it with. Please check with your bank to see if your ATM might be voice enabled.

Here is a brief description of what you may hear if it is voice enabled: (using a Westpac ATM):
When you plug your headphones into the jack, it will automatically start talking to you. It will give you a description of the keypad, the numbers 1 to 9, where the clear button is (off to the side of 3), cancel (off to the side of the 6) and the enter key (off to the side of the 9). It will also tell you the placement  of where to get your receipts out from (the top), where your card goes in (and which way it should go in), where the headphones are plugged in, and how to adjust the volume for it. Last but not least - it also tells you where your money comes out. Once we were happy with the layout, and where things were, in went the card.  It gave me options. It asked for the pin, and once entered, it then gave me more options (1 for withdraw, or 2 for a balance).  Just by following the audible directions, I was able to get an account balance and withdraw cash, along with a receipt. This means that now our friend does not have to go into the branch if she chooses not to. It also means that she has access on weekends to balances as well. With some things there are obviously times you will need to go into the branch for assistance, but for balances and withdrawals, these talking ATM's are great!

Just remember, if an ATM is voice enabled, it will begin speaking as soon as you put in your headset. Various banks may have different layouts. There may be talking ATM's in your local area that bank staff are not aware of, but remember there may also not be any in your immediate area at this present time. Please consult your local bank or building society branch for further information and assistance.  Please also remember to take along a set of 3.5mm plug earphones so you can test these out and find out if you have any in your area!      

Note: The ABCNZ is primarily responsible for the introduction of talking A T M's for blind and vision impaired New Zealanders by banks. Westpac, ASB, BNZ, ANZ and The National
Bank have all begun to introduce talking ATM's. There are approximately 1200 talking ATM's throughout the country and this number will increase as banks replace old stock over the next few years.

New Zealand Bank contact numbers and branch and A.T.M locations

Westpac 0800 400 600
Westpac branch and ATM locations may be found at:

ANZ 0800 269 296
ANZ branch and ATM locations may be found at:

ASB 0800 803 804
ASB branch and ATM locations may be found at:

BNZ 0800 275 269
BNZ branch and ATM locations may be found at:

National Bank 0800 18 18 18
National Bank branch and ATM locations may be found at:

Enquire with your local branch (or call your bank's 0800 number) to find out if your local machine is voice enabled. Enquire also as to which ones may be accessible when travelling out of your local area.