Bill Morrison, SVP, Product Management
93% of households in America are bank customers and nearly 20% of the population, has a disability. Financial institutions must consider the needs of all of their customers in order to foster beneficial, lifelong relationships, including the disabled. On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services. With the growth of ‘Cloud’ and other web-based products and services, new ADA regulations continue to evolve, and banks cannot be complacent. It is imperative for them to make changes to their electronic solutions, making sure they are currently compliant with regulations and identifying new ways they can make banking easier for their disabled customers.
ADA compliance for the web ensures that disabled people–including those with hearing, visual or motor impairments–are still able to use websites the same way as those who are not disabled. The industry-standard guidelines for web accessibility are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. At high level, these guidelines focus on items such as providing text alternatives for non-text content (i.e. captions), making all functionality available from a keyboard, giving users enough time to read and use content, making text readable and understandable, having content appear and operate in predictable ways, and maximizing compatibility with current and future user tools.
Banks touch their customers in ways more than personal banking. While customer facing electronic products needs to be updated to fit ADA web guidelines, banks also need to make sure their commercial electronic solutions are compliant as well. For example, many banks offer their business customers electronic billing and payment solutions that make distributing bills and accepting payments easier. It is important for these solutions to be ADA complaint so individuals can successfully use the site, especially the disabled.
Transactis supports the goals of ADA and continually works to ensure that its electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution, BillerIQ, meets the needs of the disabled with a fully responsive user interface, and functionality that facilitates a high level of accessibility for everyone, following the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v2.0.
Compliance with the ADA should be at the top of every bank’s priority list. It is a vital way financial institutions can build and improve relationships with their customers. Instead of being reactive to new regulations, it is important for banks to be proactive by understanding where their compliance is now, and how they can improve their offerings to make the lives of their disabled customers easier.