Australians may notice a new blue and gold addition to their wallets in the coming weeks as the Reserve Bank of Australia circulates the new $A10 note. And if you can’t see the new note you will definitely be able to feel it.
"It’s vital any further advances in [banking] technology have accessibility at the forefront.” - Karen Knight
The new notes contain the same world-leading security features as the $A5 note issued in 2016 - including tactile features to support people from the blind and low vision community.
While the roll out of the new currency has been welcomed by the Australian blind and low-vision community, advocates have warned of the new wave of challenges faced as technology is introduced by the commercial banking sector which risks leaving the blind and low-vision community behind.
Vision Australia General Manager of Advocacy and Engagement Karen Knight says while tactile currency has provided the blind and low-vision community with greater confidence and security around cash transactions, technology such as touchscreens pose a major hurdle to accessible banking.
“From speaking to our blind and low-vision clients we know the introduction of the tactile $A5 note has had a positive impact in their lives and we’re excited to see a second tactile note entering circulation,” she told me.
“They say the tactile features have significantly helped them to identify banknotes and to feel more confident to pay with and receive cash. But while cash still plays a major role in day-to-day transactions, electronic payment methods are increasingly becoming the norm so it’s vital any further advances in technology in this area have accessibility at the forefront.”
Knight’s comments are supported by a recent RBA Consumer Payments Survey. The study shows Australian consumers increasingly use debit or credit cards as their preferred payment methods.
While more and more small payments are being made with contactless ‘tap-and-go’ cards, cash is still often used for lower-value transactions for over one-third of consumer payments.