More than 90 per cent of ATMs and 70 per cent of banks are inaccessible to wheelchair users, a study has revealed. The study, conducted by an academic and sponsored by the Equal Opportunities Commission, found that while two-thirds of automatic teller machines' (ATM) keypads were reachable by customers in wheelchairs, 93 per cent of the card-slots were too high, rendering the machines inaccessible. Accessibility at banks was better in 'newer communities' like New Territories East, where 58 per cent were up to standard, but fell to 18 per cent in older communities like Kowloon West. Only 16 per cent of Kong Kong Island banks were accessible. The main barriers were sets of stairs leading up to the entrance of banks. The location of banks inside inaccessible malls sometimes impeded customers. The study, entitled Barrier-Free Banking Services - Myths or Realities, was carried out by Dr Ambrose Ma of the University of Hong Kong's department of social work and social administration and the Hong Kong PHAB Association, which promotes social integration of physically handicapped people. The chairman of the study's working group at PHAB, Johnny Mak Siu-lum, said: 'We hope the banks will now be aware of the different needs of the handicapped and promote barrier-free facilities and services. 'It's just a matter of providing equal opportunities to every person living in the community . . . putting money into upgrading facilities will also strengthen their goodwill.' The study of 1,434 banks, excluding those on outlying islands, found there was only negligible difference in the overall treatment by bank staff of customers with physical disabilities. Physical accessibility was measured by the width of doorways and hallways leading to the bank offices, which ought to be at least 75cm wide, according to Buildings Department standards. Card-slots, keypads and cash-slots on ATMs are required to be within 1.2 metres of the ground. Mr Mak encouraged the Hong Kong Association of Banks to consider collecting opinions from customers, particularly those with disabilities, on the use of their facilities.