My husband and I are both blind and we have two children. I am responsible for the family finances and pay the majority of the bills.
Although we have computers with adaptive technology that reads what is on the screen to us, online banking remains impossible. I use telephone banking and direct debit, but still have over 40 individuals and companies I make regular or semi-regular payments to. These include school fees, after school activities, sports clubs and people like electricians and plumbers.
Setting up a new payee is difficult and has to be done by bank staff for me. Sometimes I am charged for this service. I cannot make one-off payments as the categories available are defined and limiting and often I cannot recall who the person named is.
I am frustrated as parents at school, friends and relatives can pay bills quickly using a few taps on their smartphones. I find this difficult as entering the numbers on a touch screen is not easy. I usually ring my bank on my landline phone - another cost - and ask them to do the transactions for me.
I am concerned that the move to internet banking and many other services online lacks consideration for consumers who are blind or vision impaired, elderly, or who do not use technology. I think banks should take into account people who cannot use technology independently or at all.
Accessibility legislation would ensure that several methods of banking continue to be readily available, particularly for those who cannot or do not wish to use technology.
This is my access story, it is one of many. I'm sharing it because I want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.
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