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Mastercard launches accessible cards for blind and partially sighted people

By Joy Dumasia

October 26, 2021

  • Card Payments
  • Credit Card
  • Debit
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Mastercard extends its commitment to inclusivity by introducing a new accessible card standard for blind and partially sighted people, called the Touch Card. There are few effective ways for the visually impaired to quickly determine whether they’re holding credit, debit or prepaid cards, particularly as more cards move to flat designs without embossed names and numbers. Mastercard is addressing this challenge with a simple yet effective innovation.

Mastercard has improved upon a current design standard by introducing a system of notches on the side of the card to help consumers use the right card, the right way, by touch alone. The new Touch Card credit cards have a round notch; debit cards have a broad squarish notch, and prepaid cards have a triangular notch. The standard has been designed to work with point-of-sale terminals and ATMs, ensuring it can be deployed at scale.

Mastercard’s concept has been vetted and endorsed by The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the U.K. and VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the U.S. The card was co-designed by IDEMIA, the global leader in Augmented Identity, providing trusted solutions in the physical and digital space.

Mastercard has been embedding its signature melody at checkout counters worldwide, a signal to everyone the sight-impaired in particular that their card transaction has gone through successfully. Mastercard’s launch of the Touch Card underscores its commitment to inclusivity.

Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer said: “The Touch Card will provide a greater sense of security, inclusivity and independence to the 2.2 billion people around the world with visual impairments. For the visually impaired, identifying their payment cards is a real struggle. This tactile solution allows consumers to correctly orient the card and know which payment card they are using.”

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