Mastercard Inc. will roll out its first U.S. credit card for visually impaired consumers, done in partnership with Citizens Financial Group.
new private-client credit card will feature a square notch on the side of the card meant to signify to blind and partially sighted customers that the card is a credit card, the company said Wednesday. Citizens ultimately intends to roll out the accessible cards across its broader portfolio, including debit cards, which will feature round notches, and prepaid cards, which will have triangular notches.
Linda Kirkpatrick, Mastercard’s
North America president, said she expects the card to help the 12 million people in the U.S. who are either blind or partially sighted.
“It’s something you don’t necessarily think about when you’re not visually impaired, but this unlocks a lot of potential for those in that scenario,” she told MarketWatch, as the notches will allow consumers to distinguish between their cards.
Mastercard began working on the Touch Card technology in 2019, and while it’s done some limited programs internationally, the Citizens card marks the first time it’s implemented a globally consistent standard.
All cardholders of the new Citizens product will receive cards with the designated notch, not just customers who are blind or partially sighted.
See also: Mastercard expands relationship with Citizens in exclusive arrangement
Brendan Coughlin, Citizens’ head of consumer banking, said at a media presentation that Citizens started the Touch Card rollout with its Private Client World Elite Mastercard simply because the card is new to the market.
“There wasn’t a dramatic strategic reason why private client versus the non-private client versus the debit card,” he said. “The idea is to get into the whole portfolio and this just happened to be the first product that we were otherwise innovating on.”