Vision Australia welcomes banking industry's accessibility commitment

12 December 2018

Vision Australia has warmly welcomed a commitment by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) to strongly promote the importance of accessibility in the sector.

The ABA released its Accessibility Principles for Banking Services, which it believes will help ensure that people with a disability, including people who are blind or have low vision, are not denied the opportunity to independently and securely access banking products and services.

The release of the principles comes after extensive consultation between the ABA and the disability sector, and Vision Australia Lead Policy Advisor Bruce Maguire said that they are a world first and an important step towards ensuring that current and future banking technologies do not exclude people with a disability.

“We are very encouraged by the broad consultation that took place during the development of the banking accessibility principles, and we are also pleased that the ABA have given a strong public commitment to the importance of accessibility,” Bruce said.

“Because the principles are broader and less prescriptive than standards, they are more open to interpretation, and it will therefore be essential that the banking sector works together and in collaboration with the disability sector, otherwise we will end up with inconsistencies between banks in the way they implement accessibility. This would be bad for customers with a disability and would limit equal and independent access. It will be vital for us and other organisations to continue working with the ABA and to participate in the regular reviews of the way the principles are being applied,” he said.

The development of the principles began after Vision Australia approached the ABA in 2014 with concerns that advancements in technology meant the ABA’s four voluntary accessibility standards developed in 2002 had become outdated.

While banking technology continues to evolve, Bruce said a regular review of the principles will ensure they remain relevant

“Banking is an important part of everyday life and it is a fundamental right that people with a disability should have equal and independent access to all banking products and services, both now and into the future.

“The principles should result in greater accessibility for people with a disability as banking continues to evolve. The regular review of the principles will help ensure that they remain current and that they are being applied by the banking sector for the benefit of all customers.”

Find out more about the Accessibility Principles for Banking Services on the ABA’s website here.

Vision Australia's Digital Access team is recognised internationally as an industry leader in the provision of digital accessibility services. Find out how they can help you with all your accessibility needs here or contact them on 1300 367 055 or digitalaccess@visionaustralia.org