HSBC has announced a major change to its bank cards for UK customers.

The move comes as part of the bank’s ongoing commitment to financial inclusion as the bank prepares to rollout a range of new 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 customers in mind and will be available to all customers regardless of whether they have a disability.

HSBC announce changes to customer bank cards

New accessible features will 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.”

'important step'

The Alzheimer’s Society has praised the move saying they were delighted to see the new features added to cards.

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.”

‘net zero emission’ business

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 67tonnes 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 the HSBC UK website.