Mastercard Introduces Accessible Card for Blind and Partially Sighted People

Article From Mastercard

2.2 billion people around the world have visual impairments

Unique notches on the Touch Card’s short side allow the person to distinguish it between a credit, debit or prepaid card

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 a credit, debit or prepaid card, particularly as more cards move to flat designs without embossed name and numbers. Mastercard is addressing this challenge with a simple yet effective innovation.

“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,“ says Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer. “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.”

Three white cards with different notches cut into them sit on a bright red background
Image: New Touch Card debit card with a round notch, credit card with a squarish notch and prepaid card with a triangular notch.

With the new Touch Card, 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 squarish notch; debit cards have a rounded 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 as well as digital space.

“As the banking industry responds to new trends and developments, it’s critical that any innovation brings progress for everyone, including those with a visual impairment,” says David Clarke, RNIB’s director of services. “We’re very pleased that Mastercard understands how important it is that blind and partially sighted people have equal and independent access to their own finances.“  

“Innovation should always be driven by the impulse to include,” adds Rajamannar, who is also the company’s Healthcare president. “With one in seven people experiencing some form of disability, designing these products with accessibility in mind gives them equal opportunity to benefit from the ease and security of a digital world. No one should be left behind.” 

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. It follows the introduction of True Name™, designed in support of the transgender and non-binary communities. The company’s commitment as a brand is to not only stand against inequity but to be an agent for change.

Note: Since launch of the Touch Card, the shape of the notches were changed to reflect further refinement of the card.