In this June 15, 2017, photo, a customer inserts a Mastercard credit card to pay for parking in Haverhill, Mass.

Elise Amendola/AP


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Elise Amendola/AP


In this June 15, 2017, photo, a customer inserts a Mastercard credit card to pay for parking in Haverhill, Mass.

Elise Amendola/AP

Approaching a register to pay for a morning coffee, for many, probably feels routine. The transaction likely takes no more than a few seconds: Reaching into your wallet, pulling out a debit or credit card and paying. Done.

But for customers who are visually impaired, the process of paying can be more difficult.

With credit, debit, and prepaid cards moving toward flat deigns without embossed names and numbers, similarly feeling bank cards cause confusion for people who rely on touch to discern differences.

One major financial institution is hoping freshly designed bank cards, made especially for the blind and sight impaired, will make life easier.

Mastercard will distribute its new Touch Card — a bank card that has notches cut into the sides to help customers find the right card by touch alone — next year to U.S. customers.

“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,” Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, said in a statement. “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.”

Credit cards have a round notch, debit cards have a broad square notch, and prepaid cards have a triangular notch, the company said.

Virginia Jacko, who is blind and president and chief executive of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Inc., told The Wall Street Journal that feature also addresses an important safety concern for people with vision problems.

People with vision problems would no longer have to ask strangers for help identifying which card they need to use, Jacko said.

The new feature was developed with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the U.K. and VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the U.S., according to both organizations.



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