Mastercard introduced its latest innovation to help ensure that visually impaired and partially sighted consumers can use its spending and credit solutions as readily as any other cardholder. The company’s Touch Card, announced this week, enables the visually impaired to easily determine whether the Mastercard they are holding is a credit, debit, or prepaid card thanks to a few simple design elements to the physical card itself.
At a time when payment cards are becoming sleeker, eschewing the boldly embossed letters and numbers that have distinguished these cards for decades, the new Touch Card features a new design that, while not bucking the trend toward flatter, thiner cards, provides the kind of tactile cues that visually impaired consumers can use to select and use the right card. With a series of notches on the side of the card – a round notch for credit cards; a broad, square-shaped notch for debit cards; and a triangular notch for prepaid cards – Mastercard’s new Touch Card is another example of what Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar called innovation “driven by the impulse to include.”
“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,” Rajamannar said. “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.”
The new cards have been endorsed by The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the U.K. and by VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the U.S. Co-designed by augmented identity specialist IDEMIA, Mastercard’s Touch Card works with bot point-of-scale terminals and ATMs, meaning that the new solution can be readily deployed at scale.
“With one in seven people experiencing some form of disability,” Rajamannar said, “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.”
It is worth mentioning that the Touch Card is only one of Mastercard’s initiatives to empower those with visual impairments. The company includes its signature melody, which signifies that card transactions have been completed successfully at the checkout counter, among these efforts.