12 August 2021

HSBC UK makes banking more accessible with new range of cards

As part of HSBC UK’s ongoing commitment to financial inclusion, the bank has announced it has started to roll out a new range of cards that will include accessibility features as standard.

Working with charities such as Alzheimer’s Society on the design, the new cards include considerations for people with dementia, visual impairments, learning difficulties, dyslexia and colour blindness.

New features have been designed with feedback from existing customers1 in mind and will be available to all customers regardless of whether they have a disability.

Accessible features include:

  • An arrow at the top and carved out notch at the bottom to indicate which way the card should be inserted into readers and ATMs

  • Tactile raised dots to differentiate credit cards from debit cards and personal bank cards from business ones

  • Flat printed card numbers, better contrasting colours and larger font to ensure card details are easier to read

Maxine Pritchard, Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability at HSBC UK, said: “Many of us often struggle to tell the difference between our credit card and our debit card or read our card details as the numbers wear off over time. These challenges are experienced daily by customers with disabilities.

“Making our cards accessible is a priority for us, so we wanted to ensure we incorporated key features that will help customers with a range of abilities and needs. What’s more, these features will be available for all our customers as standard. No one should have to ask for adapted or different products and services.”

Morven Lean, Senior Strategic Change Manager at Alzheimer’s Society said: “We’re delighted to be working with HSBC UK to help customers living with dementia live as independently as possible. Everyday banking tasks that so many of us take for granted, even something as simple as knowing which way around the card goes, can become a real challenge. These accessible cards are an important step to ensure people living with the condition feel supported and treated as equal members of society.

“With an estimated 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, as the UK’s leading dementia charity, we are constantly working to ensure the rights of people affected by dementia are recognised. Through our work with banks like HSBC UK, we can make the biggest difference in supporting people with dementia, so they can live and participate in their local community.”

The new cards are also made from 85 per cent recycled plastic as part of a global HSBC programme to eliminate payment cards made of single-use plastic.

The UK cards will reduce CO2 emissions by 67 tonnes per year and save 30 tonnes of plastic waste per year as part of HSBC’s strategy to achieve net zero in operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner.

Aaron Shinwell, Head of Unsecured Lending at HSBC UK, said: “We’re delighted that our new cards incorporate accessibility features as standard whilst helping the bank and our customers make a positive impact on the environment.

“Incorporating these changes into our new design is an important step on our journey to making banking more inclusive and our transition to a ‘net zero emission’ business.”

In order to be as sustainable as possible, HSBC UK will only replace a card when it expires or is lost, stolen or damaged.

For more information visit: https://www.hsbc.co.uk/accessibility/

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Langston, HSBC UK Press Office: 07384 792 248 / hannah.langston@hsbc.com

For the latest news and updates, visit the HSBC UK newsroom:

Notes to Editors

HSBC UK started issuing the new cards in July and will gradually roll them out over the course of the next year.

1 What our customers said:
Dementia: There are 850,000 people in the UK living with Dementia (Alzheimer’s Society, 2021)
Customers living with dementia reported being unable to differentiate their debit card from their credit card. They also encountered difficulties inserting their card the right way round in card readers.

Visual impairments: 250 people a day lose their sight in the UK (RNIB, 2017)
Customers with sight loss and visual impairments reported difficulties reading their cards due to low contrasting numbers and lack of accessible features or tactile features.

Learning difficulties: 49% of adults have a numeracy attainment age of 11 or below (National Numeracy)
Customers with learning difficulties or low numeracy skills reported difficulties reading their card details due to the small size and style of the numbers. They also reported difficulties reading the card because of the low contrast.

10% of the UK population are dyslexic (Gov.uk, 2017)
Customers with dyslexia reported difficulties reading their card due to the low contrast numbers but more because of the busy background distracting attention away from the numbers. They also reported difficulties reading the information on the back of the card that runs behind the embossing.

Colour blindness
Over 3 million people in the UK are colour blind (Colour Blind Awareness, 2021)
Customers with colour blindness reported issues reading their card details because of the low contrast between background and text and due to the tipping wearing off. They also reported issues differentiating their debit card from their credit card.

HSBC UK serves around 14.5 million customers in the UK and employs approximately 32,000 people. HSBC UK offers a complete range of personal, premier and private banking services including bank accounts and mortgages. It also provides commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates. HSBC UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.

HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 64 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,959bn at 31 March 2021, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.