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Grant Hardy previews Accessible Payment Terminals

A hand is shown pushing a button on a portable ATM device.

By Grant Hardy

If you’re blind or partially sighted, you know how frustrating it is to pay with a debit or credit card.

Every single payment terminal is different. Since there’s no consistency, you can’t memorize the screens even if you wanted to. This leads to some very interesting dilemmas and baffling philosophical questions. For example, am I about to leave a multi-thousand-dollar tip, or am I actually at the PIN screen entering my four-digit PIN? Do I need to leave a bigger tip because the host or server is helping me with the machine? Conversely, I’m sure every blind person has been in this situation: You’ve had a fantastic experience somewhere and you want to leave a huge tip, but the host automatically skips the tip section for you, trying to be kind, but actually depriving you of the opportunity to tip for good service.

We have a little bit of relief coming up right here on AMI This Week, as we delve into an exciting collaboration between the CNIB, the Government of Canada, and our largest payment processor, Moneris. They’ve set out to create a payment terminal that’s fully accessible and will be provided at no cost to merchants across the country. The menus all speak, so you’ll be able to navigate the system yourself, freely entering whatever PIN, account, and tip amount you want. To get a sense of how this is going to work, tune into our feature where you’ll hear from Moneris as well as the CNIB about how paying is about to get a whole lot easier.

Wait—did I just say paying is about to get easier? Maybe that’s not such a good thing! Now I’m going to need some more restraint. But it’ll be the same restraint anyone else would need. I won’t be impeded by an accessibility quirk with the terminal. 

Tune in to AMI This Week, Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv and the AMI-tv App. Want to read more from Grant? Search his name!