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Dear Readers


Blind SA has made representation with the Banking Association of SA (BASA) and with several financial institutions over many years regarding inaccessible banking for blind and partially sighted persons. The concerns and challenges are around physical access to the financial institutions, use of the ATM’s, accessible publications and forms, e-banking, website accessibility, smart phone apps,  phasing out of telephone banking and e-commerce. The situation has not improved much instead it is getting worse. Over two years ago BASA commissioned a consultancy, Enable Network, to investigate banking accessibility and to report to BASA. The final report titled “Barriers to Banking” was submitted to BASA around February 2016 and has been gathering dust since. We tried to engage further with BASA who have since employed another consultancy, Bamboo Rock, to look at Universal Access and to report to BASA. We have little faith in this process and feel that it is yet another attempt from the side of BASA to avoid engaging meaningfully with banks.


The concerns were raised with the ICT Disability Chamber and the Department of Posts and Telecommunication Services. We have since withdrawn our participation with BASA’s uncompromising negotiations through Bamboo Rock.


Blind SA has approached the SA Human Rights Commission and we were informed to obtain complaints and incidents of concerns, challenges and inaccessibility experienced by blind and partially sighted persons.


In this regards, we are attempting to reach out to blind and partially sighted people who have experienced these difficulties and are willing to provide details. You may complete the attached SA Human Rights Complaints Form or forward a brief description ideally including the type of inaccessibility, concern or challenges you experienced, the bank, branch or city the bank is located, by email or fax to Blind SA by 30 November 2017. Please forward your inputs to Sanette Jordaan;, fax. 011 839 1217.

Click here to download the form

More information may be obtained from the Blind SA officials listed below


Christo de Klerk email

Andre Vosloo email



Jace Nair


Blind SA

10 Responses

    1. Was there success in this endeavour? Have there been any banks that have taken initiative to research ways to solve this problem?

      1. Yes, there has been some progress:

        A blind computer programmer is working with Capitec developers to iron out some accessibility issues.

        Absa has been going out of its way to engage on a regular basis with the portfolio holder of Blind SA’s portfolio for banking accessibility to iron out reported accessibility issues and to ensure that new features to be implemented, would be accessible.

        On the other hand Standard Bank is failing dismally in respect of accessibility. There was a time when their developers met with us and reported accessibility issues we indicated, but those never got addressed and each new update breaks accessibility even further. It seems like accessibility is not an important issue at all for Standard Bank. We are in the process of looking at our options to take the matter forward.

        An accessibility issue with the Nedbank website has been reported to us. On inquiry it appears that Nedbank is aware of it and has undertaken to address it, but that was over a year ago and no progress. As with Standard, we are looking at our options to get some traction on this matter also.

        Kind regards


  1. Hi. I’m so glad to have stumbled across this blog. As I am new to South Africa, I am currently searching for the most screen reader friendly bank. Upon first reading the article, I was feeling quite discouraged. I’m so glad I continued further to the comments. For anyone reading this, please could you assist me with your opinion as to which bank you find easiest to use at this point. I am mostly concerned with mobile banking. I have no computer at the moment so I find Desktop websites pretty cumbersome.

    Thank you to anyone who happens to read this comment and wishes to reply.

    1. Although Blind SA is doing its best to liaise with the different banks, it stays a challenge.
      Telephone banking which is also accessible through cellphones is still my personal first choice of interaction with the bank.
      I may be still from the old school.

      Getting back to the apps for the respective banks, it seems as if Capitec is the most accessible at the time.

      Two weeks back some member did test the app for Absa and they did not struggle with it.
      The problem still is when they update the apps, some of the features which worked previously with speech and which were labelled revert to the default and then become inaccessible again.

      We must also keep in mind that people differ. Some may prefer a certain app while another does not find it easy.

    1. We have been advocating for some time and will continue to do so until we reach a favourable response from the banking sector.
      To date we have had a few responses from different banking institutions wanting to meet with us for discuss. We are hopeful!

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. Hi Christo

    I hope you are well.

    I am writing a paper on features which banks can implement on their banking app to cater for the visually impaired. I am very lucky to have stumbled upon your post.

    Could you kindly elaborate further on what you mean by “accessibility issues”.

    The above communication mentioned reaching out to blind and partially sighted people who have experienced difficulties. Could you kindly (if possible) share with me what they have experienced.

    Lastly, from your experience and also what you’ve seen, which banking app and bank would you say is catering best for the partially sighted. And what built-in feature would you say makes it best suited.

    Kind regards

    1. Hello Blessing

      Blind SA has been involved in a battle for years now to achieve accessible banking for blind and partially sighted persons. Let me first list some accessibility challenges:

      Online platforms like banking websites and smartphone apps of most banks are not fully usable by blind and partially sighted persons, because their developers have not applied international accessibility standards.
      ATMs are not accessible for blind users. Because there is no spoken feedback from ATMs, blind people cannot transact in privacy on ATMs. It is our understanding that the necessary hardware is built into many ATMs to allow for this facility, but software has not been developed to implement it.
      Most banking-related documentation is not accessible for blind persons.
      Most banking staff have not been sensitised to assist blind persons properly.
      Occasionally some banks refuse to let blind customers open bank accounts, as they are of the opinion that they would not be able to sign or manage their accounts properly.
      Some banks refuse blind customers motor financing because they do not have drivers licenses.
      Banks are not all at the same level. Absa’s and Capitec’s apps are very accessible. Standard’s app is an accessibility nightmare which they break even further with each update.

      We have engaged with BASA (a dog without teeth). We have taken the matter to the SA Human Rights Commission (a similar dog). We have taken Standard to the Banking Ombud with no success. We are now looking at further options which could include litigation.

      Unfortunately we lack some expertise around the issues faced by partially sighted persons.

      I hope this helps. Please ask if you need any further information.

      Kind regards

      Christo de Klerk

      Vice president – Blind SA

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