How ADA Compliance Affects The Banking Industry

Graphical picture of How ADA Compliance Affects The Banking Industry

Key Takeaways

  1. ADA compliance in digital banking is crucial to ensure accessibility for all customers, including those with disabilities.
  2. Banks must meet ADA website and mobile app requirements, including providing alternative text for images and accessible forms.
  3. A bank website compliance checklist can help meet all ADA requirements.
  4. ADA compliance benefits customers and protects banks from potential legal action.

In today’s digital age, accessibility is essential to any business, including the banking industry. Banks must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Compliance with these regulations ensures that all individuals receive the same services and opportunities to participate in mainstream American life, regardless of physical limitations.

The PDF file format is used across industries and is considered an information barrier if it does not comply with the ADA accessibility guidelines. With around 250 million visually impaired people worldwide, following ADA requirements ensure that information is accessible to those with disabilities. While many banks have tried to comply with these regulations, there is room for improvement. In this article, let us explore the effect of ADA compliance in banking and how financial firms can make their online presence more accessible.

Why Is Bank ADA Compliance Important?

Ensuring Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is crucial for the banking industry. The ADA was enacted in 1990 to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, granting them equal access and opportunities. As banks embrace digital tools to enhance customer convenience, providing ADA-compliant platforms has become essential. Failure to do so puts banks at risk of legal consequences.

Addressing The Urgent Need For Accessible Online Financial Services

People with disabilities face challenges when accessing banking services. The National Disability Institute’s report highlighted the marginalization experienced by individuals with disabilities when financial services are not accessible. Research by the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania revealed that individuals with vision disabilities encountered accessibility barriers while using financial websites or applications. Providing accessible banking platforms empowers customers with disabilities to engage independently in their banking activities.

Accountability In The Financial Sector

Financial companies recognize the importance of ensuring full accessibility of their online services. Adhering to the technical requirements outlined in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA, helps financial institutions avoid legal complaints and ensure ADA compliance. This proactive approach safeguards the bank’s reputation and fosters a socially responsible image.

Accessibility Implementation Made Easy

Regular monitoring by accessibility experts is crucial to ensure digital apps and online interfaces meet WCAG 2.0 technical requirements. Prioritizing ADA compliance widens the customer base and optimizes website visibility on search engines. Meeting ADA requirements for banks allow customers to engage in self-serve activities, enhancing their overall banking experience.

Promoting Inclusivity As A Marketing Strategy

Over 60 million individuals in the US require accessible goods and services. Businesses that fail to provide accessibility risk alienating this significant consumer segment. The American Federation of the Blind actively encourages its members to switch from banks that do not address online accessibility barriers. By adhering to digital banking compliance and meeting WCAG technical requirements, banks can proudly serve diverse communities and improve their market position.

ADA Website Compliance For Banks: Unique Considerations

Ensuring ADA compliance poses specific challenges for banks due to third-party platforms, applications, and authentication requirements. Mitigating accessibility risks involves providing alternative formats, and captions and using simple language. Compliance with ADA requirements specific to financial institutions is vital. Here are key areas for banks to consider:

Third-Party Platforms

Banks use online banking portals operated by third-party vendors, exposing them to compliance risks. Regular accessibility reviews of these platforms address concerns and enhance the user experience.

Applications/Apps

Most people prefer mobile banking as they can check balances, pay bills, etc., anywhere at any time. Therefore, ensuring accessibility across different devices and platforms is crucial for mobile banking.

Authentication

Secure online banking and multi-factor authentication (MFA) keep customers safe. However, some authentication methods may pose challenges for people with disabilities. Therefore, banks must allow password manager autofill, web authentication apps, Captchas and MFA to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Reducing Banking Accessibility Risk

Technical and institutional changes are necessary for ADA compliance. Entrusting website modifications to ADA compliance experts ensures accessible design elements are implemented.

How Financial Firms Can Make Their Online Presence More Accessible

Financial Firms must ensure all their digital assets, such as PDF documents, apps, and websites, are accessible to everyone. There are several steps that financial firms can take to make their online presence more accessible. teps to enhance their online presence include:

Understand the Requirements

Understanding how customers interact with and access your website is crucial. With this awareness, you can integrate an end-to-end solution that aligns with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines encompass various disabilities and ensure the development of accessible websites for cognitive, dexterity, mobility, learning, language, and other important attributes.

  • Understanding your customers’ requirements and complying with those guidelines will ensure everyone can utilize your digital assets.
  • Utilize microsites that provide additional navigation capabilities, accessibility controls, monitoring, and reporting.
  • Incorporating the latest technology that will revolutionize your ADA website to keep your compliance documents up-to-date, easy to use, and provide a secure user experience.

Check For Proper Color Contrast

Ensure proper color contrast on your website to accommodate color-blind and visually impaired users. Tips for achieving this include using high-contrast visual aids, employing color schemes for clarity, and displaying important information with a color with atleast 4.5:1 contrast ratio against its background.

Take Advantage Of Automated Testing

Automated testing helps evaluate your site’s accessibility level by monitoring key pages. It can assess your entire site and is a great place to start for businesses that have templated product pages. Using real-time data, it can analyze accessibility status and make recommendations that can be integrated into your overall design.

Strategically Improve Your Internal And External User Experience And Workflows

By incorporating accessibility, larger projects can be structured to scale effectively and improve performance and efficiency. You can access documents quickly with a hybrid work situation for product building and can internally support them before making them public if you use cloud-based hosting.
You can enhance your external user experience and streamline workflows by strategically implementing ADA guidelines and leveraging cloud-based strategies through collaboration with business partners, vendors or customers.

Use Simple Fonts And Text Styles

Ensure you use simple fonts; text size and style are consistent so that users understand. You can highlight important points using bold or italic text, use bullet points, and avoid using long paragraphs, which may confuse users with print disabilities, such as dyslexia.

Implement User Testing

It should include usability experts and anyone using assistive technology daily when implementing user testing. So, to start an effective user testing program, you must first identify local activist groups or non-profit organizations working with people with disabilities. Connect with people using assistive technology or living with various disabilities.

Make Sure All Media Assets On Your Site Contain Descriptions

Ensure all videos and audio files on your website have descriptions or subtitles to make them accessible to all users. Add audio cues that indicate changes in color, setting, and other visual elements. For users with hearing impairments, you can add text captions and subtitles.

Positive Effects of ADA Compliance On Banking

Complying with ADA standards for digital assets has numerous positive effects. It expands the customer base, improves customer experience and loyalty through accessible documents, establishes a personal connection, enhances the bank’s reputation as socially responsible, minimizes legal risks, and makes customers with disabilities feel valued and understood.

Final Thoughts

ADA compliance is vital for the banking industry. Prioritizing accessibility helps banks reach a broader audience and demonstrate their commitment to serving customers with disabilities. Continual Engine offers artificial intelligence (AI)-driven accessibility solutions to assist banks in achieving ADA compliance. Connect with their accessibility experts to learn more about their comprehensive services.

Get AI-Driven Accessibility Solutions

Empower your organization with scalable, cost-effective, and efficient tools for an inclusive user experience.

Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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