03 Aug 2021

Nationwide Enhances Accessibility By Issuing RNIB-Certified Recycled Cards

  • ‘Dot and notch’ cards first to display RNIB ‘Tried and Tested’ certification
  • Cards will be made from 85% recycled plastic as Society beefs up green credentials
  • Feature allows blind and partially sighted people to distinguish cards more easily
  • All Nationwide members will be issued with the new format to better aid inclusivity
  • Blind and partially sighted people given early access ahead of existing card expiry date

Nationwide Building Society has begun issuing ‘dot and notch’ embossed bank cards that are certified by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), with the cards being the first to carry the charity’s ‘Tried and Tested’ logo.

The cards, which are made from 85 per cent recycled plastic, will be issued to all members, making them the rule rather than the exception.

The new cards will be seen first on the Society’s FlexAccount Card and will be available on all cards by next year. All account holders will be issued with accessible, recycled cards as their old ones expire. However, as the new versions are rolled out, members will be able to request a replacement card ahead of their expiry date, should they want one. Each year the Society issues around 5.5 million debit and credit cards.

The ‘dot’ feature, which consists of a selection of raised dots on the front of every card, will enable members to distinguish between credit and debit cards, while the ‘notch’ tells them which way around the card needs to be inserted into card machines and ATMs. The new design will also have clearer contrasts between fonts and the card background, making important information, like the account type, more identifiable.

The new format, which replaces Nationwide’s original ‘dot and notch’ designed for its Member Credit Card back in 2019, was developed in partnership with RNIB. Close work with the charity’s Business Services Team ensured the card designs incorporated the very latest accessibility standards.

In line with Nationwide’s move to start issuing eco-friendly cards this year, the 85 per cent recycled plastic cards will help the Society save an estimated 35 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Mark Nalder, Head of Payments at Nationwide Building Society, said: “We’ve been using the ‘dot & notch’ design for a while. However, having the ‘Tried and Tested’ approval from RNIB will provide members with extra piece of mind that the very latest accessibility features have been captured in the new card designs. They will be issued to all members across all our cards. I’m particularly proud of the fact we’ve been able to add this accessible design to our eco-friendly cards, made from recycled plastic, as part of this new rollout.”

David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, said: “Working with Nationwide is part of RNIB’s ongoing commitment to work with the banking industry and ensuring that improvements are made to allow blind and partially sighted people the means to manage their finances independently. Simple changes to bank cards can make the world of difference to those with sight loss and we congratulate Nationwide on taking these steps to make banking a more inclusive and accessible experience for their blind and partially sighted customers.”

The ‘dot & notch’ design is the latest initiative Nationwide has introduced to help support blind and partially sighted customers. All the Society’s own ATMs have audio functionality that can read out the information on screen to help guide those with sight loss through any ATM process, should they require it. The Society was recently announced by Which? as the top-rated provider with a branch network for disabled customers1.

Cards made from recycled plastic is just one of the ways it is working towards a low-carbon future by minimising its own environmental impact. The Society is now carbon neutral in its energy use and emissions for all internal operations and company vehicles, uses 100 per cent renewable energy and sends zero waste to landfill. The next goal is to extend carbon neutrality through all business operations, supply chain and commuting by 2030, while the Society is working towards half of the homes on its mortgage book to be at least EPC C rated by 2030.