Banks must consider their approach to web accessibility—the inclusive practice of ensuring that no barriers prevent users from interacting with content—as a key component of making their digital experiences available to all potential and existing customers. In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 19, Corporate Insight will share a three-part blog series outlining select web accessibility-focused best practices our research teams have identified from banks in the following areas: publicly available assistance information, end-user experience operability, and pathways for requesting accessible card and statement formats.

As of 2020, 26% of adults in the United States identified as having some type of disability, many of which impact vision, motor function, hearing and/or cognitive processing. This percentage is expected to rise as the population ages and due to effects from long-haul COVID-19 symptoms, which some studies indicate may affect 10% of the 81 million people in the United States who have recovered from COVID-19. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was originally created to ensure physically safe and accessible public spaces, increased web accessibility lawsuits over the last decade demonstrate that firms must consider online accommodations equally important.

Fortunately, many banks have already ensured their websites adhere to the Worldwide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Even with conformance to these basic standards, the multitude of diverse needs can make it difficult for banks to support users across the board. Enter: accessibility informational pages! Publicly available accessibility-focused pages can offer a clear point of reference for anyone seeking information on assistive services—such as people with disabilities or caregivers—and provide an opportunity for banks to highlight their available support channels.

Offer comprehensive information regarding both digital and in-person support options

Highlighting available support options helps customers with disabilities more than a simple statement declaring compliance with accessibility guidelines. To help all customers, banks should:

  • List product services for deposit-specific features that may not appear on product pages, like the availability of raised-line checks or Braille statements
  • Outline the ways in which the site is or is not compatible with assistive technology configurations and conventions, such as browser zoom and font size adjustments or device-specific customizations
This screenshot shows TD Bank's accessibility page
TD Bank Accessibility Page – Product Services and Assistive Technology Configuration Sections
  • Provide instructions for accessing in-person services, such as parking, interpreter availability or anything else customers will need to prepare for ahead of a branch visit
    • If services vary by branch, firms should note that in their instructions and link to the branch locator tool
These two screenshots show Bank of America's accessibility center page
Bank of America Accessibility Center – Various In-Person Services

Four banks—Bank of America, Chase, TD Bank and Santander—stand out by offering all this information on their dedicated accessibility information pages.

Meanwhile, Truist and PNC promote resources that extend beyond their own supportive services, including a financial literacy program and a federal program for receiving free currency readers. By incorporating this information on their pages, these firms bolster their holistic banking experience for users with disabilities.

These two screenshots show the accessibility page sections from Truist and PNC
Truist Financial Literacy Program and PNC Helpful Tools Accessibility Page Sections

Include accessibility-specific contacts for fielding inquiries and accepting feedback

Firms should never lose sight of users’ evolving needs, which can get lost in the high volume of general customer service calls. Within a web accessibility interface, banks can promote a collaborative online environment by providing a dedicated contact point. Some banks offer a general feedback form, which allows users to share suggestions for improvement but lacks any opportunity to ask questions or interact with a customer service representative.

Banks should instead take a human-centered approach through establishing a clear contact point that is reserved for users with disabilities

Ideally, firms will provide options that accommodate multiple communication styles, including written, verbal and video.

  • Chase and Wells Fargo stand out for offering phone and email contacts plus a physical mailing address
  • U.S. Bank’s CoBrowse feature uniquely enables users to communicate with banks via live video and screensharing
This screenshot shows Chase's accessibility specific contact points
Chase Accessibility-Specific Contact Points

Use conventional content organization methods to highlight key information

Many banks take a no-frills approach to content organization by presenting information on a text-only page. Firms that take this approach should ensure the page includes descriptive headers and clearly delineated sections to improve readability. For example, Chase’s text-only page includes headers and distinguishes content through varying—but not overwhelming—font styles.

This screenshot shows Chase's accessibility page with different font styles
Chase Accessibility Page with Header, Paragraph and Bullet Font Styles

Meanwhile, Bank of America does well by using tiles and links to assist users in navigating to more detailed information pages and USAA stands out for its clearly labeled tabs, including one that summarizes the content of all other sections. By organizing content on individual pages anchored by a landing page, these two firms can provide more detailed information without suffering cluttered appearances.

This screenshot shows USAA's accessibility center's landing page
USAA Accessibility Center Landing Page


This screenshot shows Bank of America's accessible banking interface landing page.
Bank of America Accessible Banking Interface Landing Page

Consolidate information in a readily available location

All these resources diminish in usefulness when spread across disconnected customer service or help pages, however. A dedicated accessibility-focused hub provides a platform to convey necessary information specifically for users with disabilities. Most banks follow the convention of offering clearly labeled Accessibility links in a footer that appears across the public site. Firms also supply multiple access points to accessibility pages throughout their sites, such as links on the customer service page and site map as well as within search results for relevant queries—Bank of America and USAA offer all four access points.

Ultimately, however, limitations to accessible functionality—such as inoperable keyboard experiences or incompatibilities with screen readers—can prevent users from even reaching the link, rendering an informational hub useless. While banks should highlight information regarding assistive services, technological compatibilities and support channels for users with disabilities, it is only one component of providing a truly inclusive online banking experience.

For more best practices and other insights for the financial services and healthcare industries, see our Insights section.