As cards & mobiles replace cash, it’s even more important to consider payment methods that are accessible to all

Guest blogger : Steve Price, Senior Manager Everyday Banking, ANZ

Timing is everything in business, and so it was when our team at ANZ introduced new accessible features on debit cards in late 2016.  

We didn’t initially set out to design an accessible card.  An industry program to upgrade the eftpos payment system had triggered the need to replace our existing debit cards, introducing the security and convenience of contactless payments on these cards.  Tactile_ANZ_access_card.jpg

Over the past few years, a concerted effort has been made at ANZ to raise awareness of accessible design principles, and encourage an attitude of conscious inclusion rather than unconscious exclusion when creating new products.  Our product management processes ensure that accessibility standards are always considered as part of the product design process with a straightforward business case – that with 1 in 5 Australians living with some form of disability, by addressing barriers we can increase our market for customers and employees.

We’d been encouraged by feedback received from vision impaired customers about the convenience of contactless and mobile payments, but the difficulty of differentiating plastic cards from others in the wallet.  And we’d had an idea a while ago about introducing braille on cards for vision impaired customers, but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to make this a reality. 

So as we started the card design process, we recognised that we didn’t have all the answers and reached out to Vision Australia for their advice.  They put us in touch with a range of members of the blindness and low vision community to workshop some new designs.  We learnt a great deal from these workshops.  Notably, that no individual is the same and there is a wide breadth of vision impairment ranging from those who are 100% tactile to those who just needed stronger visual cues of how to use their cards.

As we responded to the feedback, we landed on a range of new features that were introduced to the cards to improve accessibility.  These included larger fonts, tactile indicators as well as high-visibility leading edges.  We also plan to introduce indicators in the future to help differentiate between ANZ’s debit and credit cards. 

The feedback we received from Vision Australia after the workshops was really encouraging.  Workshop participants were surprised and impressed that a big company was reaching out to get their input and Vision Australia General Manager Karen Knight called the changes the most significant accessibility improvements in the banking sector.

That such a small change can be seen as so significant shows how the little things can make a real difference.  Importantly, these new features are now issued to all ANZ Access cardholders, not just those with vision impairment.  By designing for the margin, we’re making our products more accessible for all and also contributing to raising awareness and shaping attitudes of the wider community.

The new cards were launched in September 2016 and are available with a wide range of ANZ transaction and savings accounts. 

More details of ANZ’s other accessible banking services can be found here:

https://www.anz.com.au/personal/bank-accounts/your-account/accessible-banking/


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