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A close up of a person’s hand using a stylus pen to make a selection on the touch screen surface of a payment terminal.

Coming soon to a check-out near you: accessible payment terminals

By John M. Rafferty, President & CEO, CNIB

Over the last couple of years, cash has become less and less functional in a digital world – especially during a pandemic where contactless payments and e-commerce take centre stage. 

Every day, hundreds of thousands of Canadians with sight loss are forced to rely on others to help them make payments, sometimes surrendering their financial independence. Imagine having to share your PIN with the cashier or with the stranger behind you, or walk away from buying your groceries. 

Existing payment terminals often require customers to rely on visual cues for information, which creates a significant barrier for Canadians with sight loss. Common roadblocks include touchscreen devices without tactile features, machines without verbal prompts as well as inconsistent user interfaces.

Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada, CNIB has been working with Moneris to address this issue. Soon, upgraded payment terminal software that provides improved accessibility features – such as increased font size, increased brightness, inverted colour contrast and audio feedback – will be available to the public.

These new payment terminals will be the first step in a journey ensuring that Canadians with sight loss can maintain their financial independence. CNIB looks forward to continuing our work with Moneris – and we would welcome the opportunity to work with other payment terminal manufacturers – to improve the inclusivity and accessibility of the payment industry.

On May 31, I’ll be speaking at The Payments Canada Summit, where Canada's payments community meets to exchange ideas on the future-state of the payments industry. I’ll be joining Angela Brown, President & CEO of Moneris, to discuss the changing face of payments and how the payments industry can become more inclusive in supporting individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

We look forward to sharing details about the new accessible payment terminal – and how you can get involved to encourage Canadian businesses to make the change – when it's available later this year.