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How Payments Are Addressing the Needs of Customers with Disabilities

payments ADAWhile technology within the payments industry has come a long way in the last few years, many of those advancements have previously neglected a whole segment of the population: the disabled.

For years, men and women who were confined to a wheelchair have experienced difficulties when trying to pay by debit or credit card in retail stores, specifically those stores that mount their card readers at an unreachable height for wheelchair-bound patrons.

But, change is on the way.

Recently, a four-year class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart resulted in an eye-opening settlement—one that will cost the company a significant amount of money and will set a precedent for businesses moving forward.

According to the lawsuit, Center for Independent Living Inc. (CIL), et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the store’s payment card machines were too high for disabled consumers to reach. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses are required to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals such that they can participate in normal daily life without undue hardship. The ability to pay in a retail establishment, according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is one such required accommodation.

The issue was about more than personal rights to independence as protected by the ADA, however. It also concerned personal privacy and financial security. One of the major topics of contention that sparked the lawsuit was that wheelchair-confined customers often had to share private information, such as pin numbers and card information, with someone else in order to complete a payment.

As anyone in the payments industry can tell you, giving out that kind of information is strictly discouraged. But what choice did these individuals have?

Since the issue became more widely known, entrepreneurs have been working hard to find a solution that would allow businesses to offer both independence and secure card purchasing to their disabled patrons. That solution has come in the form of a flexible card reader mounting system.

These wheelchair accessible card reader mounts come in more than one version, created by different companies, but each is designed to be ADA-compliant and supportive of payments industry technology for card reader systems. Most are also EMV-enabled and ready to support a chip card system.

Your business might be new to accepting payment cards, or you might come from a long line of digital payment entrepreneurs. Either way, now that the issue has been settled on the side of the ADA within the court system, businesses can expect a required upgrade to their current mounting system.

The wisest business owners won’t wait—and not just because of anticipated legislation. In all reality, businesses thrive or die based on their ability to meet their customers’ needs. Whether you elect to purchase the most high-end mounting system available or you get creative on your own merit, your wheelchair confined customers deserve the ability to make payments on their own, with the assurance of privacy and equal rights to protect their personal information.

Keep your wheelchair-bound customers safe and satisfied by adapting to an ADA-compliant card reader mount. You’ll find the benefits far outweigh the costs—in more ways than one.

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Ashley.jpgAbout the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .

 Top Photo Courtesy of Google CC