New cards extend banking options for vision-impaired customers

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Ally Lancaster with her son Connor McLeod, who was born blind and convinced the Reserve Bank to introduce tactile banknotes. Photo: James BrickwoodFor NSW teenager Connor McLeod, who is blind, using an automated teller machine or paying on EFTPOS on his own has not been possible until now.
Nanjing Night Net

“The cards basically look the same from both sides,” he said.

“I really didn’t know which way to put them in, or which way they faced. It looked too similar, it did not look accessible.”

Something that others take for granted, like taking out cash or making a purchase with a card, would generally require the help of another person.

But after the new $5 note for the first time included tactile features for vision-impaired people, due to a campaign started by Connor, similar changes are starting to occur with credit and debit cards.

After running focus groups with people who blind or have low vision, including Connor, ANZ Bank has released a debit card with features that make it more useable to vision-impaired customers.

The cards include two raised dots that show which end should be inserted into the machine, larger font, and high-visibility edges to also help with inserting the card properly. It should mean people in Connor’s position can withdraw cash, or pay with a card, on their own.

“You do need to be told what to do, but you can use it on your own,” said Connor, who was born blind.

ATMs and EFTPOS terminals often have a headphone jack that can be used by people who are blind or have low vision, but knowing which way to insert the card can be difficult.

Connor’s mother, Ally Lancaster, said it was a “step in the right direction” to develop a card that would be easier for a blind person to use. It is important for her to know Connor will be able to manage his finances electronically.

“It’s great to see businesses now doing their part in terms of making their goods and services more accessible to people with disabilities,” she said.

“They’re earning and they’re working and they’re spending money just like everyone else is – it needs to be accessible to them.”

The new card comes after Connor started a petition that ultimately convinced the Reserve Bank to include tactile features on its new series of notes, the first of which was launched this year.

Vision Australia’s general manager for advocacy, Karen Knight, said ANZ was the first Australian bank to add accessible features to its cards.

“These members of the community are at risk of being left behind in the digital banking world if institutions like ANZ don’t consider accessibility when developing products for their customers,” Ms Knight said.

ANZ’s general manager of deposits and payments, Kath Bray, said the bank would work on other ways to make banking more accessible to customers when it was designing products.

“With almost 360,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision, accessibility needs to be considered as a key element of the customer experience we offer,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.