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Touch-screen point of sale (POS) devices are incorporated in our everyday lives and are becoming more of an issue for visual and audio impaired consumers as more companies and organizations implement them.
This technology, while useful and secure, is largely inaccessible to people with visual and audio impairments. Simple activities such as shopping for shoes and groceries, travelling and paying for hotels. These things may soon be more difficult or even impossible, unless they are willing to put themselves in far greater risk of fraud, theft or financial ruin.
Globally around 432 million people have disabling hearing loss and it is estimated that approximately 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment.
1. First, companies may decide to market the accessibility features of the device to help discriminate it from the competition. Accessibility can become a key market discriminator in a group of products with similar features. Furthermore, increased accessibility often leads to increases in the usability of the device for all users, another marketable benefit.
2. Second, companies may produce accessible point of sale machines in order to be in conformance with the standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act so that they can effectively market their products to the Federal Government.
3. Finally, companies might produce an accessible point of sale machine in order to broaden their market to include additional users with functional limitations.
On October 22nd, 2018 the company Verifone announced the introduction of Navigator, the first-of-its-kind payment feature with a fully integrated touchscreen to earn certification for accessibility and usability by the National Institute of Blind People (NIB), a United Kingdom based charity. Verifone Navigator delivers the ultimate solution with the First PCI-Compliant Full Touchscreen Feature for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Verifone worked with the sharpest minds to make sure that new payment hardware and software in the form of Navigator is accessible and usable for the millions of people living with visual and audio impairments worldwide. Verifone now has created an industry standard with payment devices and everyday touchscreen technologies such as ATMs and kiosks. Ensuring a secure payment will always will be a universal concern for consumers and merchants. It is a constant that will remain even as the touchscreen trend overtakes the payment experience.
Verifone was committed to creating a better, more secure and inclusive payment experience for merchants and consumers around the world and they succeeded. Navigator will initially be available throughout North America and Brazil. The first-of-its-kind software is available now on Verifone’s Carbon 10, a countertop or portable point-of-sale device that features merchant and customer facing tablets for optimal business management and customer interaction.
A potential customer who is visually/audio impaired would not be able to pay for products and services using their credit or debit card since they could not independently use a POS device. Their only reliable option to make a purchase would be to give their PIN number to a friend, family relative, or as a last resort to the sales clerk for them to enter on their behalf.
Revealing their PIN number to everyone they interact with while making purchases opens them up to the risk of fraud and theft. Furthermore, if impaired consumers carry more cash on hand than typical, perhaps to make a big purchase such as a new TV or laptop, they become a prime target for robbery since they are unable to use a POS device.
Another hurdle for blind consumers is that they cannot verify the amount of money they are being charged on a touch-screen POS device. This creates a black hole where they become liable for the amount even if there is an error, they have no recourse to the bank or Credit Card Company.
People are standing up for more inclusive options to be developed on the POS devices we use every day for the audio and visually impaired. Below we visit a few examples of the recent backlash some companies are experiencing due to their non-compliance.
A blind woman lodged a lawsuit against a bank over its "inaccessible" touchscreen-only POS terminal. She stated it was too difficult to use on her own and regularly needed to share her secret PIN with staff. This specific POS Terminal requires a PIN for purchases of $100 or more but the lack of a tactile keypad has proved a problem for 350,000 blind and visually impaired citizens.
A class action lawsuit asserts a retail store POS system discriminated against visually impaired customers and is in violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). More specifically, plaintiff argued that entering a secret PIN when paying with a debit card is nearly impossible without guided help, thus denying them full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations at the store.
In 2015, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for accessible technology, and Verifone worked together to enhance the accessibility of Verifone’s in-taxi technology for blind passengers.
Verifone’s in-taxi systems enabled passengers to pay their cab fare with a credit or debit card and enjoy curated media content during taxi rides.
Currently now in place, blind passengers can use the terminals by tapping the center of the screen to initiate an accessibility mode, which uses voice prompts to provide information about the fare and to guide the user through the payment process.
About the Author
William Dawsey, Global Director of Finance and Payment Systems at Chetu Inc. offers insights into the changing tides within the payments landscape discussing how emerging technologies will rattle the preexisting architecture. Chetu Inc. is a custom software provider specializing in payment gateway solutions, system integration, blockchain development, and other fintech solutions. Verifone Partnership with Chetu.
Chetu does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of a specific software, company or individual does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
Founded in 2000, Chetu is a global provider of software development experts, solutions and support services. Chetu's specialized technology and industry experts serve startups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies with an unparalleled software delivery model suited to the needs of the client. Chetu's one-stop-shop model spans the entire software technology spectrum. Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, Chetu has fourteen locations throughout the U.S. and abroad.
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