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What is accessibility?

Card payments are essential in a modern economy and an important part of daily life. They give access to a safe and convenient way of transacting, as well as the ability to shop online, which can often give access to cheaper products and services than alternatives available on the high street. This makes it important that people can obtain and use payment cards.

What do we think?

The card payment industry knows that it is providing an essential component of people’s lives. The industry has a responsibility to ensure that it adapts products and services to meet the diverse needs of different customer groups. This includes making existing products more accessible to people who might otherwise find them difficult to use - for example those with visual or audio impairments or those with mobility restrictions who may need to rely on others to help them make payments.

What are we doing?

UK Cards works with the British Banking Association (BBA) and The Payments Council on projects to help improve accessibility across all banking products. Some recent examples include:

  • Talking ATMs – the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has been running a campaign to encourage banks to provide a facility on ATM machines which will allow a visually impaired person to receive spoken instructions
  • Adapting cards – the RNIB has also been working with UK Cards members to test whether credit and debit cards can be adapted to allow visually impaired people to distinguish them more easily
  • Delegating payments – research carried out by The Payments Council shows that currently around 2.5m UK bank customers authorise another person to make payments on their behalf because of restricted mobility, disability or a lack of access to payment facilities. The findings also show that almost three quarters of such people delegate informally to friends or relatives – a process which has the potential to expose consumers to financial harm and/or breaches of privacy and security without access to appropriate redress.

To assist such consumers, UK Cards and Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) have been working with The Payments Council to develop a framework for delegated authority. This would allow a person to set up specific parameters for another person to make payments on their behalf, e.g. how often and for how much the delegate can make payments, as well as details on which channel (online, card, in branch) must be used. More information is available on this process is available here.

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