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Debit Machine Accessibility

Updated: 7 days ago

Written by Chace Romanoff, BCPF Board Member & Youth Leadership Committee Member

July 9, 2022

I have experienced times where debit machines are not accessible for me. The debit machines in stores should not be too high for people using wheelchairs, little people, and others to reach and use. For example, this photo was taken at Save on Foods in Valley Fair Mall in Maple Ridge, BC. I cannot see the screen and this is not okay. This is common at a lot of grocery stores, too. I would like to see a change be made here so that our debit machines are accessible for everyone, everywhere. We should not have to feel like we are not supposed to be shopping.

Chace using a debit machine that is not accessible for people using wheelchairs

Every person should have the freedom to safely and securely pay for the items they wish to purchase with the tender they choose. This right is denied when a debit machine is not accessible. Electronic payment terminals are an everyday device that should not be difficult to use. But this is sadly not the case. Some pin pads are difficult to reach when they sit too high or too far from the edge of a counter. If a debit machine is too large or heavy, it may be hard to hold while making a payment. Touch screens without tactile markings or voice instructions can make it difficult for people with visual disabilities to enter their PIN or complete purchases. Many electronic payment devices don’t look or work the same way which can lead to payment errors. So can pressure to complete the transaction quickly. This is not okay.

Experiencing these barriers makes people with disabilities feel like they need to ask family members, caregivers, employees or even strangers to help them complete their purchase. But by sharing personal information, like their PIN, this creates a greater risk of theft and fraud. This is not necessary because electronic payments could easily be accessible for all.

Debit machines are only accessible if everyone has access to the information on the screen and payment options available.

If you find that this happens to you, too, I've made a letter template you can use. You can download the template to edit the letter. Then you can drop it off to the manager at any stores that do not have accessible debit machines.

Template for Debit Machine Accessibility Letter
Download DOC • 236KB

It is important for retailers to understand accessibility issues and deal with barriers that exist around payment terminals. Standards should use inclusive design from the start!

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