Financial services have harnessed technology to usher in ease and convenience for many. But millions of people in the United States alone may not be able to bank online—or at least, not as easily. And that puts banks, credit unions, and other financial services at risk of legal action.
As online banking accelerates, so does the need for accessible banking
Traditional, in-person banking is becoming a shadow of what it once was, and the financial services industry is now faced with addressing the very real legal need to make their online presences accessible to those with disabilities. If consumers with visual, auditory, mobility, or cognitive challenges are prevented or discouraged from interacting with online banking services, those services could be deemed discriminatory, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Not only do inaccessible websites and apps present legal risks, but financial and marketplace risks as well.
So, what should banks do?
This week’s National Mortgage News article, New Legal Risk for Banks: Websites the Disabled Can’t Access, provides an excellent summary on how those in financial services are approaching the issue of accessible banking. We are pleased that Microassist’s Jack McElaney was interviewed for the article alongside experts from the financial industry. Among the article’s cautions: waiting to address accessibility can be risky. The time is now to become aware of where mobile and online applications fall short, and what can be remediated.
For further reading, we encourage you to also look at the following Microassist articles related to banking and litigation:
- Coming Soon to Banks and Credit Unions: Accessibility Requirements for their Websites — Digital Accessibility Digest commentary
- Accessibility-Related Factors in Current Litigation (PDF) — Originally published in Mealey’s™ Litigation Report: Cyber Tech & E-Commerce. Mealey’s is a subscription-based information provider and a division of LexisNexis.)
We also encourage you to read up on accessibility articles related to banking. These Accessibility in the News posts list a great many of the most recent ones.
If you find yourself wondering if your bank website is accessible to those with disabilities, or if you find yourself at the receiving end of a demand letter or lawsuit, contact us for a consultation. We can talk about what accessibility next steps are appropriate for your situation.