Mastercard presents accessible card design for blind users

MasterCard Inc.

introduced a new card for people who are blind or visually impaired, the company said.

According to Mastercard, different varieties of the card, which will be available in 2022, will use physical notches to help people use touch to distinguish them and discern the correct way to insert them into scanner machines, according to Mastercard. The debit card will have a square notch, the credit card will have a rounded notch, and the prepaid card will have a triangular notch.

Some banks and other card issuers already offer designs with a notch on the side and other features. Barclays PLC provides a notched debit card, for example, with a light strip and an arrow to indicate which way to insert the card.

Mastercard wanted to extend existing designs without overcomplicating them, said Raja Rajamannar, the company’s director of marketing and communications.

“If you have a partial or total disability, you don’t need to learn a lot,” said Rajamannar. “All you need to see is OK, there are different shapes. “

Features designed to make products accessible to a wider range of consumers have been rolled out across all industries. The Bank of England said in March it would make its £ 50 note textured so that it stood out with its touch, McDonald’s Corp.

modernizes its self-service kiosks to make them more accessible by the end of the year, and companies like International Business Machines Corp.

and Wix.com Ltd.

offer tools to help developers analyze their websites for accessibility issues.

Mastercard worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK and the nonprofit Visions / Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the US to uncover weaknesses in existing cards, according to the company. He has given up on using braille on his new cards, called Touch Cards, because his research found that many blind people don’t use it, Mastercard said.

Its new designs are also available for other card companies.

More experience report

The designs could boost safety for people with vision problems by reducing the need to ask strangers for help identifying which card to use, said Virginia Jacko, blind and chief executive officer of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Inc., a training center for the blind and visually impaired.

Many blind people already have their own methods of differentiating cards, such as cutting a piece of them or adding a sticker, said Samuel Proulx, who is blind and works as an accessibility evangelist at Fable Tech Labs Inc., an accessibility -test platform. Notch designs align well with these methods, he said.

Notched designs could also become useful for people without vision problems, in the same way that ramps leading to the sidewalk from the street have benefited not only people in wheelchairs, but also people with strollers, suitcases and delivery carts. , added Mr. Proulx.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]

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