Digital accessibility: What the EAA regulation means for self-service in banking

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Already in 2019, Directive (EU) 2019/882 on accessibility requirements for products and services, better known as the "European Accessibility Act (EAA)", has been adopted. While the directive has different names in different EU member states, the challenges are the same for all states: Many questions have arisen with it. Because how exactly accessibility is to be implemented is not described in the regulation. The manufacturers of self-service machines are obliged to deal with the EAA regulation and to develop products that meet the requirements.

European Accessibility Act: Accessible use of products and services

The goal of the European Accessibility Act is clear: Products and services must be accessible to all target groups. For example, the visually impaired, the deaf or people in wheelchairs must also be able to operate all use cases. Thus, the field of application of the EAA is very broad and includes, among others, the following areas:

  • Online shops and websites

  • Information and communication technologies including all apps

  • Banking & financial services - also digital and automated processes

  • Information services and self-service machines of public transport (incl. ticket machines) or citizen service centres ("citizen terminals")

  • Etc.

In this article we will focus on banks and savings banks. Of course, one or the other approach can also be used for other products or services.

The EAA provides for barrier-free usability for all users.

How self-service terminals can be made barrier-free

The EAA sets minimum requirements for the accessibility of products and services. This means that people with disabilities should also be able to participate as fully as possible in social and economic life. To this end, it is necessary to provide information in several variants as well as to enable use via different sensory channels. In the case of ATMs, the following options are important, in addition to the standard output:

  • Speech output: By means of speech output, menu items and instructions can also be made accessible to blind or visually impaired people. In addition to acoustic feedback (for example, when a button is pressed), audio-visual user guidance via a headphone jack should also be implemented.

  • Font adjustment & color contrasts: The ability to switch to a larger font and select high-contrast color combinations makes operation easier, especially for people with impaired vision.

  • Tactile elements: Braille or tactile elements on the pin pad support blind or visually impaired people when operating vending machines.

  • Lighting: The position of the physical or NFC card reader becomes more visible by means of large-area lighting. Multilingual software:** Potential language barriers are eliminated by the ability to select another language. Simple, textual instructions are preferable to complicated wording.

  • Accessibility of controls & under-ride of the terminal: For people in wheelchairs, the shape and dimensions of a terminal play an important role. The EU standard EN 301459, which is valid for all member states, regulates, for example, gripping heights and gripping depths of a terminal.

The illumination of controls and additional options for voice output ...

... facilitate the use of self-service terminals.

The European Accessibility Act at KEBA: How we already meet the requirements of the regulation

From 2025, no new devices that do not comply with the EAA may be put into circulation. A transitional period until 2035 (DE) or 2040 (AT) has been set for existing appliances. At that point these appliances must also be withdrawn from circulation.

If a new cash recycler is to be purchased, the following key question arises: Does it meet all the requirements? Or can a software update or other special measures be implemented when the regulation comes into force? Many manufacturers are currently facing the challenge of adapting their devices to meet the requirements.

One thing in advance: KEBA evo series cash recycler already meet the requirements of the European Accessibility Act because accessibility and best usability for all users, regardless of physical limitations, are a matter of course for us. That is why we have been working intensively on this issue for more than 10 years and make our products accessible to all people without restrictions.

KEBA & MyAbility: A successful collaboration
In order to be able to cover all aspects of the development of barrier-free self-service terminals, we work together with the independent experts from MyAbility. MyAbility advocates for an equal-opportunity society and supports companies in product development. They closely examine design prototypes, test all operating steps under a wide range of conditions and provide feedback on how a product can be further improved. These suggestions for improvement are then taken into account in further product development. The result is a series product that is barrier-free and, above all, easy to use for all users and meets a wide range of requirements and target groups.

We also drew on the expertise of MyAbility in the development of our KePlus D10 communication and digital terminal. We have documented in detail in a video how this product test went and what results came to light.

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