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20.01.2011

Bank Austria presents first bank card for people with visual impairment in Austria

  • The new bank card’s large writing, stronger contrasting background and distinguishing features in Braille make it easy to read
  • Target group are the 318,000 people with visual impairment in Austria
  • The new bank card is an important step in efforts to create barrier-free banking services for people with visual impairment


The new Bank Austria BankCard will be available in all Bank Austria branches from 24 January 2011 to people with visual impairment. The innovative product is an important step towards creating barrier-free banking services for people with visual impairment. The large writing, stronger contrasting background and distinguishing features in Braille make the new bank card easy to read. The letters "BA" in easy to identify Braille characters in the bottom right-hand corner of the card provide all users with some practical guidance when using the card. The card was developed in cooperation with the “Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs“ (Relief Organisation for Austria’s Blind and Visually Impaired), and its colour and design meet the needs of the target group.

Rainer Hauser, Management Board member at Bank Austria with responsibility for private customers and SMEs, stresses that "The development of the bank card for people with visual impairment underlines Bank Austria’s social responsibility. With this card we offer the large number of people with visual impairment in Austria a product which will make it much easier for them to settle their payment transactions. A mobile phone, wallet/purse and bank card are today the three most important items of daily use."

Irene Vogel, manager of the Relief Organisation for Austria’s Blind and Visually Impaired, adds: "We are delighted that a new bank card will become available to make life easier for visually impaired people. In Austria, 3.9 per cent of the population, i.e. about 318,000 people, suffer from permanent visual impairment, a condition which persists despite glasses, contact lenses or other vision aids."

Persons with visual impairment can switch to this bank card free of charge upon presentation of either a handicapped ID with an entry to the effect that the holder is visually impaired, or a membership card of the Relief Organisation for Austria’s Blind and Visually Impaired. The bank card gives the holder access to all services which can be used with a Bank Austria BankCard, including non-cash payments at POS terminals, and cash withdrawals from ATMs, displaying the Maestro logo. The card holder can moreover also make payments with the Quick service, the electronic purse, print account statements and submit transfer instructions 24 hours a day in Bank Austria’s self-service foyers, and he/she can use the card to identify himself/herself at the bank’s counters. Quite generally, there is a flat fee of € 13 for anyone else wishing to switch to the new card.

The bank card for persons with visual impairment is an additional important step in Bank Austria’s initiative to help people with disabilities. Supported by additional equipment, Bank Austria’s OnlineBanking services are already being used by blind persons. Barrier-free access to Bank Austria’s website for people with visual impairment continues to be improved on an ongoing basis.

Bank Austria has been offering a shuttle service in Vienna for customers with limited mobility since 1 September 2010 as a trial run. The purpose of this initiative is to provide suitable transport for these customers to make it easier for them to travel to their branch for an appointment. An investment initiative has been launched with the aim of making the necessary construction-related adjustments at all Bank Austria branches so that these will be entirely barrier-free in the next five years.

Bank Austria and subsidiary companies in Austria employ about 280 disabled persons in highly qualified segments. The question of disability is being given a more prominent role in the bank’s internal training programmes. A disability network, in which 45 employees participate, has moreover been created for the purpose of heightening awareness of the issue within the bank. Bank Austria’s Disability Management is headed by Erwin Schauer, whose efforts focus on making people both inside and outside the bank more sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities. Under his leadership, innovations for persons with disabilities are regularly launched in Bank Austria.


Enquiries: Bank Austria Media Relations Austria
Matthias Raftl, tel. +43 (0) 50505 52809
e-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at


A reproducible photo of the bank card for people with visual impairment is available for download  here. The image is for free.