Cheques are now a thing of the past and, in many ways, making payments is becoming more accessible. New technologies such as contactless payment and online banking have revolutionised the payment process.
Bank cards are usually equipped with features that improve accessibility, including bold colours, tactile notches and braille markings.
Making payments using PIN machines can sometimes be difficult for blind and partially sighted people. Most devices feature raised dots to mark the number five on the keypad and emit audible beeps after each button press. Generally, the enter key is located on the bottom right hand corner of the keypad. There is a trend towards businesses providing touchscreen pin machines. If presented with one, ask for the tactile keypad that fits over the screen with tactile button features.
Contactless cards can be convenient as no PIN is required for purchases under £30.
Many banks offer tactile templates to assist with signing cheques, credit slips and cards. Large print cheque and credit books are also available. Signature stamps can enable you to legally sign documents without using a pen. Accessible correspondence options include receiving documents in large print, braille or audio formats. Some banks are developing beacon alert systems that inform staff when customers with specialist needs enter their branch.
Using your smartphone
Contactless payments can also be made using smart devices such as mobiles or watches. The biometric fingerprint or face authentication security protecting these devices enable the safe transfer of funds above the normal £30 contactless limit. The Apple Pay interface is accessible on iOS, while similar functionality can be obtained on Android devices via Android Pay with fingerprint or face verification used to authenticate payments.
Setting up direct debits can be a convenient way of paying bills. These arrangements can easily be made with most large organisations. One-off or regular payments can be set up and cancelled through your bank.
PayPal provides a simple way to send money to organisations or people with all bank account and card details stored in a single account. It is an acceptable payment method for a growing number of online shops. You can find some information on PayPal accessibility here.