Inclusive Digital Banking
Financial services have long understood the need for inclusion. Delivering products and services at a reasonable cost has been a focus in increasing access for more people. In a digital-first economy, the need to widen this focus becomes stronger.
Accessible banking services will design their websites and apps following inclusive design principles. That means to design in a way that allows everyone to participate equally, confidently and independently online. For financial services that’s important because everyone deserves the right to financial independence. When it comes to banking for disabled people, the same welcoming experience should exist online as in a physical branch.
Webinar: Driving inclusive digital banking
Discover more about inclusive design in digital banking. Hear how J.P Morgan and Morgan Stanley improve digital accessibility for their customers. Discover how they’re future proofing accessibility for their organisations.
Respondents with dexterity challenges or difficulty reading numbers explained that online barriers were a result of timed sessions. With particular reference to card readers for online banking, one respondent explained; ‘I have to use a magnifier and get the card screen in just the right light to read it. This takes time (if I can manage it) and the screen blanks out after a few seconds, leaving me to start the process again.’
Explore more in this podcast with Fidelity Investments and The Financial Brand
In a recent podcast with Fidelity Investments and The Financial Brand, Jeff Wissel spoke of such barriers:
“Oftentimes large companies and organisations have policies that were created a long time ago and are still in place today. When we evaluate our policies and procedures, we try to look at the various use cases that our customers have shared with us about barriers that they may have encountered and so forth. We look at those policies and procedures with that lens in mind to think, okay, we're doing this for cybersecurity and risk and fraud and all these things, but is it causing barriers unintentionally?
What we find is when we find an issue like that and we fix it, it fixes it for not only the accessibility use case, but for everybody. A lot of things that we find are customer satisfiers for many segments, not just the disability segment.”
Accessible banking services give disabled people the same opportunities as everyone else. Often this means critically reviewing current processes, and questioning the way things ‘have always been done’. Making the effort to be inclusive is the right thing to do. But as Jeff says, digital accessibility improvements often benefit everyone too. That brings huge advantages for financial organisations.
Benefits of accessible banking services
By being inclusive to the needs of all users, your financial service can increase brand reputation and revenue. Not only by offering an accessible digital banking experience to more people. It also puts your organisation in a better place to compete with change-makers in the industry.
“The ability to acquire new customers at ‘digital scale’ will impact market share and challenge existing budgets for branches. The fastest growing financial institutions in the world are all highly specialised in acquiring and onboarding customers digitally – such as Ant, NuBank, Revolut, Chime, etc.” - Brett King
Whitepaper: Accessibility in Financial Services
In this paper discover the importance of digital accessibility for financial services. Hear from authors Martin McKay, CEO & Founder of Texthelp, and Debra Ruh, Global Disability Inclusion Strategist. Gain insights to help you make sure your digital services can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. Receive a 6-step plan to help you take action.
Research has found that 4.7 million adults (9%) are digitally excluded. This can be because of barriers related to access, understanding, skills and confidence.
Exclusion is strongly related with age: 28% of those aged 75-84 were digitally excluded, rising to 74% of those 85+. It's also prevalent in people with poor health, affecting 3 in 10 (27%) adults in poor health.
By making sure your website and apps are easy to access and use by everyone, you’re giving your customers and service users more choice in how they interact with you. And more freedom in how they choose to manage their personal finances.
Users of financial services are able to self-serve much more easily online if banking websites and apps are accessible and usable. How efficient and effective your digital services are can have an impact, so it’s important to consider the user experience when designing accessible digital banking services.
Whitepaper: Improving online accessibility for the older web user
Together with YouGov, we explored the online experiences of those aged 50+ throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Results found that 1 in 4 aged over 50 have faced problems accessing products and services online during lockdown. Usability problems were experienced across healthcare, retail, financial and public service websites.
Read the report and discover insights from Monzo, Department for Work & Pensions and more.
A lack of trust
Arguably, as a financial service being trustworthy is one of the most important attributes to have. If your audiences don’t have trust, they’ll look elsewhere.
32% disagreed with the statement that financial firms are honest and transparent. Adults with one or more characteristics of vulnerability are must more likely to disagree than adults with no characteristics of vulnerability (38% vs 27%, respectively).
Trust, confidence and satisfaction are all interlinked and scores can be affected by bad experiences.
Under the Equality Act 2010, financial organisations must provide equal access to its products and services for people with disabilities. Should a disabled person experience a barrier, reasonable adjustments must be made. By making sure your website is accessible to all people, regardless of disability or difference, you’re reducing the chances of this happening. That means a better experience for your service users, and a more efficiently run organisation.
Digital inaccessibility in financial services exists
We reviewed 30 of the top US National and Community banks for accessibility. The purpose was to discover how easy these banking websites were to access and use for people with disabilities. As well as to highlight the biggest barriers to digital banking. The results revealed that there is work to be done:
- None of the banks fully met Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG Level AA is the international standard for accessibility.
- Across all 30 banks, results found that web content would be considered ‘Fairly difficult to read’. That is according to the Flesch Reading Ease Score.
How to improve accessibility in digital banking
To improve digital accessibility in banking, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a great place to start.
WCAG helps you to consider the needs of disabled users with varying disabilities. It helps you to make your digital services can be perceived, understood and used by everyone. Its requirements consider many factors that affect accessibility including:
- Technical elements such as coding that allows screen readers to access content easily, and in a logical order. And allows keyboard only functionality
- Visual elements such as good colour contrast and text size
- Cognitive elements including the need for forms to include explanatory labels or instructions
Ask us anything
At Texthelp we want to do our part to open up digital banking for everyone. Book in for a free consultation and ask us anything.
- We'll answer your questions around legal compliance and accessibility best practices
- We'll discuss the factors that affect digital accessibility and usability - from technical barriers to readability issues
- We'll show you tools to help you create enjoyable online experiences for all your customers
Online barriers can be situational and temporary too. For example a parent trying to check their bank balance online before making a purchase in a store, may also be holding a baby. Being able to quickly navigate a mobile app benefits them too. Accessible coding, colours and language all play a part in the experience. These elements make financial services easier for everyone to use, in any situation.
Guide: Achieving the POUR principles
For a website to be considered accessible it must be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. Discover what this means in our free guide. And learn how you can go above and beyond to improve the user experience for everyone.
Discover how you're doing. Receive a free website review.
We’d love to offer you our support and expertise, to help open up the digital world for all.
Book a free consultation with us and receive a free accessibility and readability review of your website. We'll:
- Provide a quick accessibility and readability review of your website
- Discuss the factors that affect digital accessibility and usability. Including technical barriers, and readability issues
- Answer your questions around legal compliance and accessibility best practices
- Identify tools that can help you to create enjoyable online experiences for your customers