Citizens and Mastercard roll out first-of-its-kind Touch Card in the US for the visually impaired
- To enable more inclusive payments for the sight impaired, Citizens has rolled out America's first touch card for its high net-worth clients.
- Touch cards are an emerging card standard designed to provide a greater sense of security, inclusivity, confidence, and independence to visually challenged consumers.
Paying with a card is as easy as ABC for consumers but for millions of visually impaired consumers, it can still pose a challenge. 2.2 billion people around the world are blind or partially sighted and research shows that 9 out of 10 had been victims of merchant fraud or error. For this group of consumers, the real struggle lies in identifying their payment cards before all else.
To enable more inclusive payments for the sight impaired, Citizens has tapped Mastercard to roll out a Citizens Private Client World Elite Mastercard eligible for its Private Client Checking account customers. With this rollout, Citizens has become the first US institution to offer touch card features.
“Citizens and Mastercard partnered to determine the best credit card solution to fit the needs of our Private Client customers,” said Joe Green, head of U.S. credit card product development at Citizens.
Touch cards are emerging to be a new card standard designed to provide a greater sense of security, inclusivity, confidence, and independence to visually challenged consumers. The solution works with all point-of-sale terminals and ATMs to facilitate transactions.
The new Citizens touch cards have a metal surface. Each card comes with different kinds of distinctive edges designed to be perceived by touch. Specific shapes of the notches are carefully chosen to tell the cards apart – credit cards have a squarish notch design, debit cards include a circular notch, and prepaid cards come with a triangular notch. By running their fingers across the card edges, visually-challenged consumers can decipher which type of card they are holding and putting to use.
Citizens’ new card also offers other benefits and reward programs including yearly rebates, 2% cash back, Transportation Security Administration Pre-Check rebates, airport lounge access, and other experience-based benefits by Priceless.com available to Mastercard cardholders in the cities where they reside and travel.
The new card is aimed at Citizen’s high net-worth clients. Private Client Checking account customers maintaining $200,000 in combined deposit and investment balances are eligible to apply for the card, once their accounts are verified as part of the application process.
The tangible design will be introduced on all of Citizens’ debit and credit Mastercard products going forward, as the bank envisions widening its line of products and revamping the existing product suite for the rest of its clients.
Mastercard first launched notches on a touch card’s short side to distinguish between credit, debit, or prepaid cards in 2021, which has been adopted by 10 banks across 10 countries so far. The first touch card was issued by UAE-based Ajman Bank in collaboration with Mastercard in 2022.
“As inclusion is core to Mastercard’s philosophy and business, the team looks forward to scaling touch card to add independence and secure ways to pay whenever and wherever with the right card,” said Julie Schanzer, executive VP, financial institutions, North America at Mastercard.
Earlier this year, Citizens selected Mastercard as the bank’s exclusive payments provider across Citizen’s credit, debit, and commercial portfolios.
Citizens’ expanded partnership with Mastercard also puts exploring and bringing more new products to market on the bank’s agenda, according to Green. He added that the bank is currently weighing up implementing biometric capabilities across the financial ecosystem in a move to further drive inclusion for differently abled consumers.