30 November 2018
Australia’s banks have today committed to new principles to ensure accessible banking for the four million Australians living with disability. These principles have been developed in consultation with disability advocates and the banking industry.
As part of its commitment to inclusive banking the industry undertook a comprehensive review of the accessibility standards it takes into account when designing products. The Review, led by Dr Graeme Innes AM, was the first review since 2002 and was supported by various bank representatives who formed the Accessibility Working Group. Dr Innes also sought input from key disability sector stakeholders and technical experts.
The result is new principles of accessible design which cover all areas of banking, including general accessibility, digital channels such as websites and mobile banking, device design and use, telephone services, voice activated services or AI and specific areas related to customer authentication.
CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh said the principles were important to ensure products and services met the needs of the over 4 million Australians living with disability.
“Next Monday is International Day of People with Disability – an important reminder of those in our community who have different needs, particularly in crucial, everyday services such as banking,” Ms Bligh said.
“Every week millions of Australian’s tap, press, swipe, download, transfer and click their way through their daily lives to book a holiday, get paid, order groceries or even find a date.
“New technologies have heralded an era where a disparate world has been drawn closer together however for the four million Australians with disability this has not always been the case with technology often providing an invisible barrier.
“This is why today we are releasing new principles which will help guide banks as they design future products to ensure they are fully able to be used by those Australians living with disability.
“Banks have worked very hard, along with key advocates such as Graeme Innes, to ensure these principles are a success.
“There is still work to be done, particularly consideration of how touchscreen technology can be both secure and accessible. The banking industry is working closely with the Australian Payments Network on detailed accessibility guidelines for point-of-sale devices,” she said.
Dr Innes said the new principles were a major step forward for the industry and their impact would be broad ranging across all products and services offered by banks
“The existing standards are about 15 years old, so both the industry and the disability sector recognised that there was a huge need to reviews the standards,” Dr Innes said.
“We consulted extensively on these principles, with buy in from the banks and the disability sector, which will provide a solid platform to provide people with a disability world-class banking services well into the future.
“The banking industry is a leader in delivering services to people with disability, with these principles assisting in further improvement to products and services,” he said.
The new accessibility principles have been endorsed by the ABA Council (CEOs of banks). The ABA commits to undertake a review of the Accessibility Principles within two years. The ABA will be leading the review in conjunction with member banks and accessibility advocates.
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“Australian banks are certainly better equipped now than they were in the GFC. They’ve got 2 to 2.5 times the capital reserves put aside for a rainy day than they had in the GFC”
“The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the agreement reached today on the proposed safeguard mechanism reforms, given it paves the way for the passing of a critical piece of legislation for Australia.
“This is about engaging with the entire banking ecosystem in order to ensure the accessibility of the sector’s services are best serving our diverse community now, and into the future.”