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Banking and ATMs

Objective

To require financial institutions in Canada to make their products and services accessible to persons who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted.

Customers who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted, want, and are entitled to  equal access to secure, private and independent banking service transactions.

As ATMs are used more and more for the execution of banking transactions, and consequently, many bank branches have reduced hours, or closed entirely, it is becoming more difficult for customers to obtain the assistance of bank employees.  Most ATMs cannot be independently used by anyone unable to read the screen. All bank machines must contain an  audible feature, thus allowing them to be used independently by blind or partially sighted Canadians.  These talking ATMs are essential if Canadians who are unable to see the screen displays, are to have the same access to independent banking as sighted Canadians.

Need for Action

All Automated Teller Machines must be equipped with speech software, and an outlet into which customers can insert their own earphones, thus making the machines usable by those who cannot read the screens.

Proposed Solutions

  • Pressure banks and other financial institutions to embark on a program of upgrading or replacing ATMs, with models containing audio software.
  • Pressure banks and other financial institutions to make available, in the alternate format of a customer’s choice, documentation such as account statements, credit card statements, loan and mortgage documents, and any publications intended for use by all customers. 
  • Pressure banks and other financial institutions to ensure their Websites comply with the most recent accessibility  standards
  • Pressure banks and other financial institutions to ensure all employees receive training in the needs of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted customers

Accessible communication is critical to enabling independence, and full participation in life. This is dramatically illustrated when you consider important personal information like banking statements, credit card bills, wireless bills and healthcare information.  It so happens that in Canada we are fortunate in this regard - all of the major banks provide alternate format monthly billing statements at no charge to the customer - all you have to do is ask. For blind and low vision Canadians, obtaining financial statements and documents in braille, large print or audio provides the equal opportunity to make informed, and independent personal finance decisions.

Here is a list of the phone numbers at the five major financial institutions across Canada to request your financial information in alternate formats:

  • RBC Marketing Material 1-800-769-2597
    Braille statement or other statement options 1-866-246-5651 / TTY 1-800-661-1275
  • BMO 1-877-225-5266 / TTY/TTD 1-866-889-0889
  • Scotiabank / 1-888-615-8991
  • TD 1-800-831-1158 / TTY 1-800-361-1180
  • CIBC 1-800-465-2422  / TTY 1-800-465-7401

 

How You Can Help

Please join the AEBC in striving to ensure that all banks and other financial institutions in Canada, make their products and services available to blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted customers.