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Mastercard introduces accessible card for blind and visually impaired people.
© Mastercard

People with poor or no eyesight sometimes find it difficult to handle a credit, debit or prepaid card. This is helped by the fact that more and more cards feature flat designs without embossed names and numbers. With 2.2 billion people in the world having a visual impairment, Mastercard is expanding its commitment to inclusion by introducing Touch Card, a new accessible card standard for blind and visually impaired people. The Touch Card innovation is as simple as it is effective: a system of “notches” on the side of the cards is designed to help consumers find the right card by touch alone. The new Touch Card credit cards have a round notch, the debit cards have a trapezoidal notch, and the prepaid cards have a triangular notch. The standard has been designed to be compatible with POS terminals and ATMs so that the cards can be used universally. The concept has been reviewed and recommended by the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK (RNIB) and VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the US. The Touch Card was co-developed by IDEMIA, an identification technology company that develops mobile driving licences and biometric payment cards.

“For visually impaired people,” said Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and President Healthcare Business at Mastercard, “recognising their payment card is a real problem. This tangible solution will enable consumers to align the card correctly and know which payment card they are using.” David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, added: “As the banking industry responds to new trends and developments, it is important that any innovation brings progress for everyone, including people with a visual impairment. We are delighted that Mastercard understands the importance of blind and visually impaired people having equal and independent access to their own finances.” “Innovation should always be driven by the goal of inclusion,” Rajamannar adds. “One in seven people have some form of disability and developing these products with accessibility in mind gives them an equal opportunity to benefit from the ease and security of the digital world. No one should be left behind.”

At the same time, it was announced that Mastercard will abolish its Maestro brand on 1 July 2023. Then not only will the familiar logo – a blue and a red circle overlapping – disappear from girocards commonly used in this country, but also the ability to pay or withdraw money anywhere in the world where the Maestro logo is emblazoned.

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