USA won't see visual aids on its notes until 2020

Yes I know, sorry for the lame pun in the title. The subject of this post is actually a serious one. The US Government Accountability Office released a report Friday that said the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has fallen behind in its plans to produce US paper money with raised bumps on them than visually impaired people can use to identify the notes in their wallets.

The problem with US notes is that they are all the same size and have similar designs. They can only be distinguished form each other by looking at them. Not very helpful if you're, oh I don't know... blind? In 2002 a law suit was held against the Treasury Department by the American Council of the Blind. As a result of that suit, a Washington DC court ordered the Treasury to make its currency more accessible to the blind.

In 2011, the Treasury Department approved a three-pronged plan that includes making the denominations on bills easier to read, providing small currency readers to people, and creating money with raised bumps that can be read by hand. Treasury has approved a design for the raised bumps that it hopes to test in the coming years.

Due to worries about the costs and the ability of the bumps to 'stick' to the note and not wear off in everyday use, the whole process has been delayed. The expectation now is that the new notes will be available from 2020. In the meantime the Government Accountability Office has advised the government to hand out note readers as compensation.

In the graphic below a possible placement of the raised bumps on the US notes is suggested.


Steven Wednesday 01 October 2014 at 10:03 am | | news
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