Making credit cards low-vision friendly

picture of notched credit cards

Living with an eye disorder presents many challenges, and dealing with money, paper or plastic, may be one.  How do you distinguish one denomination, or one card, from another?  Believe it or not, Mastercard has announced a new design to help sight impaired people orient their card and quickly determine whether it is a credit, debit, or prepaid card. 

Called Touch Cards, these new iterations feature a notch on the shorter end:  a round indentation for credit, a square one for debit, and a triangular one for prepaid cards.

Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer and healthcare director Raja Rajamannar worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the U.K to ensure that the notches are usable and differentiable enough for people who have visual impairments.  The team at the institute dismissed the idea of using Braille on the surface of the card because only one in ten blind people can read braille and most American children who are blind are not being taught braille.

The card will be available to U.S. customers in early 2022.  Note:  In another initiative to improve accessibility, Mastercard has also equipped more than 150 million checkout points worldwide with a signature audio jingle that signals the end of a card transaction.