MEDIA RELEASE: CBA to become our most disability-friendly bank, unless you’re blind

Blind Citizens Australia congratulates the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on making its facilities more accessible for people with disability, and releasing its access and Inclusion plan 2017-2020. But we strongly criticise the CBA for rolling out over 75,000 devices to retail outlets that blind people cannot use independently.

The Commonwealth Bank is the only Australian bank to have released an EFTPOS device which has a touchscreen, but no telephone style keypad. The CBA has stated publicly that as of April this year, 75,000 of these devices are being used by retailers in the Australian market, with more being rolled out each week.

“You can’t aspire to be the most accessible bank in the country while continuing to create thousands of retail outlets which exclude people who are blind or vision impaired,” said Emma Bennison, Executive Officer of Blind Citizens Australia.

“You may have a great Smartphone banking app, and talking ATMs, but until your Albert EFTPOS machine can be used quickly and independently by people such as me who cannot see the touchscreen, you have not achieved access to your services for all Australians.”

The lack of a tactile, physical keypad on a machine, which has inadequate and inaccessible speech output, means that a person who cannot see the screen cannot independently complete their transaction.

“People who are blind are being asked to divulge their pin number to a retail staff member to make a payment. This is totally unacceptable, no doubt breaches the terms of their credit card agreement and is probably against the law. I cannot complete transactions which other Australians make ten or twenty times a day.” Ms Bennison said.

“We have raised this issue with the bank, and they are engaging with us. But in the mean-time, our members are finding that each week, many more shops and restaurants in their local communities are no longer accessible to them. This exclusion of thousands of people who are blind or vision impaired is simply unacceptable conduct from one of our largest corporate citizens.”

Blind Citizens Australia has requested the bank to stop the rollout until the machines are able to be used by all, and has encouraged other financial institutions not to go down the same path of exclusion.

Media contact: Emma Bennison
Ph: 0410 553383
E-mail: emma.bennison@bca.org.au

ALBERT: “Accessibility Lost – Blind Excluded from Retail Trading”

Blind Citizens Australia Media Release

Responding to recent public debate about the accessibility of recently introduced soft touch EFTPOS terminals BCA President Emma Bennison said today “It’s time to put the Disability Discrimination Act to work to ensure that our ability to complete financial transactions independently is not further eroded”.

Since the start of August, Blind Citizens Australia has heard from more than 30 members with concerns about the continuing inaccessibility of the ALBERT and other soft touch EFTPOS terminals. Several members have already instigated complaints under provision of the DDA, while others are investigating legal remedies relating to the breach of credit card regulations that occurs when a blind customer is forced to divulge their PIN to a companion or staff member.

BCA is concerned to note that while members are siting situations where they have not been able to complete a transaction independently, those involved with the manufacture and roll out of these devices are claiming that complex accessibility features that have been added to the device meet their obligations to provide equal access for blind and vision impaired users.

Ms Bennison said “in our opinion the most appropriate way to resolve this impasse is for all of those who find the terminal unusable, to lodge a complaint under the Disability Discrimination Act.”

Complaints can be directed against the CBA, which is marketing the device to retail outlets, and to the manufacturer and other organisations involved with the development of the product.

“The more people who join this campaign the better” she said. “BCA can assist with the lodgement process and the weight of a substantial number of complainants should ensure the matter gets the attention it deserves” Ms Bennison concluded.

For further information or to find out how BCA can assist you to lodge a DDA complaint contact the BCA Office by phone on 03 9654 1400 or 1800 033 660 or via email bca@bca.org.au

Emma Bennison
President
0410 553 383

BCA media release: we’ll be able to read our bills but can we pay them?

For Immediate Release.

Budget 2016: We’ll be able to read our bills but can we pay them?

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) today welcomes the federal government budget focus on aged care supports and a commitment to ensuring funding for the NDIS, but says reviews of DSP for 90,000 and cuts to power subsidies for new pensioners are of major concern.

“It’s great that the government has invested in the NDIS Savings Fund Special Account, and the My Aged Care consumer portal,” said BCA CEO Leah van Poppel.

“We’re concerned that 90,000 people may be taken off Disability Support Pension without a safety net or a jobs plan. We could see people getting the right equipment under NDIS to read their bills but if they come off DSP they won’t be able to pay them.”

“It’s also great that the government has recognized what our members are telling us: that information on My Aged Care is truly limited for consumers. We hope that the extra money will include work to make information available to people with disability about their access to My Aged Care in the formats they choose, like Braille or radio.”

We also welcome:

  • $96.1m for Try, Test and Learn program for innovative approaches to those at risk of long term welfare dependency;
  • $118m funding for students with disabilities

What’s missing:

  • funding for national representation by disability specific disabled person’s organisations;
  • A rights based approach for audio description on broadcast television;
  • Funding to ensure no copayment for disability specific supports in My Aged Care.

Media contact:
Leah van Poppel CEO:
Tel: 0430 210 980