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The AltFi View on accessibility: Come on fintech

Incumbents are showing the way, and there’s no shame in copying their great ideas.



AltFi Weekly Leader

Two recent stories show that innovation, with a nod to empathy, is not restricted to the disruptors.

First, you have an ingenious idea for those with sight loss from Nationwide, a bank card with ‘braille’. Second, for those with dementia, learning difficulties and dyslexia, HSBC last week unveiled a card with larger numbers and contrasting colours designed in partnership with charities like Alzheimer’s Society.

Both stories share the theme of helping those whose needs are not currently met and making accessibility the standard rather than an exception.

The surprising part is that the initiatives both came from some of the most established incumbents.

Indeed, given their vast size and scale, having strong accessibility credentials makes a lot of sense for these financial giants; millions of their customers demand them.

Fintechs meanwhile introduced a new kind of accessibility to the mix, making finance available in the palm of your hand and in whole new forms and formats. This has been a boon for millions, regardless of their needs.

Yet for these challengers, customers calling for additional support make up a fraction of their users and especially for smaller fintechs, it’s easy to understand how their focus may be elsewhere.

That is starting to change, Starling Bank’sconnected card and specialist support team, Monzo’s pioneering of the gambling block and Revolut and others have worked to ensure their apps comply with the latest W3C accessibility standards, to name just a few examples.

But for fintech and the next generation of financial services to truly become mainstream, it has to be universal, and that means serving each and every customer in the way they need.

This time it’s the incumbents showing the way and, when it comes to accessibility, there’s no shame in copying their good ideas.

The AltFi Leader is a new weekly view for 2021 from our editorial team. We’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts, feedback and constructive criticism:

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