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Making Online Banking Accessible to People with Disabilities

Cartoon drawing of person standing besides smartphone with an image of a bank

With the COVID-19 pandemic well underway, banks and a score of other businesses are limiting or shutting down their operations as customers are asked to stay home, practicing social distancing as directed by the federal and many state governments. As a result, financial institutions are relying on online banking to continue serving millions of customers across the country. What does this mean for their customers with disabilities?

  • Towards the end of 2018, we saw over 40% of community banks sued for their lack of website accessibility.
  • In at least five states, 100% of credit unions were legally targeted for having inaccessible websites.
  • Many of these businesses rely on financial tech (Fintech) platform companies for their website templates, online banking, and mobile apps.
  • There has not yet been enough accomplished to bring digital accessibility up to a working level, and we’re quickly losing time.
  • The logistics of people with disabilities gaining access to their money & bill pay functionality is not easy under normal circumstances - let alone a pandemic.
  • You must make sure your community’s banking institutions have the proper accommodations, as guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Now, with limited access to the local brick-&-mortar bank branch and a turn to online services, how will they access their money?

Fintech companies are currently providing free technology services for banking businesses to utilize while navigating COVID-19. The majority of these services will help customers access their banking accounts using cloud-based technology. Banks using these technologies to create the expectation of customer experience and satisfaction should take it one step further: Make their websites accessible to millions of people with disabilities!

This process requires banks to use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in accordance with the ADA to become compliant. Banking and other institutions across the United States are being sued by representatives and advocates of people with disabilities. These cases are mostly due to lack of accessibility to websites as guaranteed by the ADA.

Banks should take advantage of these Fintech services, and improve the performance and accessibility of their websites. An accessible website means a customer-centric organization that is inclusive across the board. The gain for banks making their websites accessible is not just a lucrative opportunity for new customer business, but a leadership in banking for all customer types.

To learn more about digital accessibility, visit www.accessible360.com and get a free website accessibility assessment.

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