Social Question

dee1313's avatar

How do blind individuals handle cash?

Asked by dee1313 (948points) August 27th, 2009

I remember one of my co-workers mention something about how blind individuals were wanting different denominations to be different sizes so they can tell them apart. I’ve read that right now, many of them simply fold the bills in different ways or store them in different places, but I’d think they’d still have to trust whomever gave them the money to be correct.

Sooo… how do they handle cash? Use credit/debit cards only, and avoid cash-only places? Maybe use an ATM to ensure they get 20s?

And what could be done to make it easier for them, so that they would not have to trust the teller/cashier/etc that the change they are are given is correct? I’d think that a few things would have to be changed to accommodate the different sizes.

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12 Answers

drdoombot's avatar

I wouldn’t mind our currency coming in different sizes, but Americans are jerks about their money, always complaining about those kooky Europeans and their money, how it doesn’t fit in their wallets, etc. I say whatever to my comfort if it makes a blind person’s life a little easier.

Mtl_zack's avatar

In Canada the bills have braille.

dpworkin's avatar

Here it’s a pretty bad situation. All the bills are the same size, and there are no tactile clues. My girlfriend, who is blind, relies upon the kindness of strangers when she receives change.

Once she knows what a bill is (for instance, after she has asked me) she uses a different fold for each denomination.

babygalll's avatar

I have seen this a few times. The blind person just put out the cash on the counter and asked the cashier to count it out. I guess most blind people depend on the cashiers to be honest. People who would take advantage of that have no heart!

Brassman's avatar

Old Australian money used to have braille on it. Now the new plastic notes are different sizes – and you can go surfing with them in your pocket and they won’t get wrecked.

LucG's avatar

In Europe the bills have different sizes and some clues in relief, not real braille.

The coins also have different sizes, as everywhere, and the edges of the coins have different relief patterns to recognize them.

tb1570's avatar

Here in China each bill has a small, slightly raised denonmination indicator in the lower right-hand corner, similar to Braille.

Lettuce's avatar

I served a blind lady once who did use eftpos – I didn’t even realise she was blind until she felt for the key pad!

In New Zealand the bills are different sizes. Not sure how helpful that would be alone, though.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve heard that blind people organize their bills in their wallets, if they are aware of what demonination it is, and must keep count? 3 ones, 2 fives, 4 twenties, etc. And the person who wrote that they fold each denomination a certain way, that makes sense. Credit cards seem to be the best route, but then you might be signing an amount that was totalled incorrectly, but I don’t see how it would hold up in any legal way if you are blind. I think America is very behind on this matter, we should have some sort of tactile way of differentiating paper currency. Having said that 99.9% of the time I believe cashiers will be honest and do the right thing. I worked in retail for years and we always returned wallets left behind (this happened a lot in the infants department) a friend of my father left her purse behind in a restaurant in a bad area of town, and it was there hours later when she went back. I lost a faux diamon earing trying clothes on in Macy’s several months ago and they had found it and set it aside…people are honest for the most part.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Personally, I don’t understand why all our bills are the same size, for this very reason. I’m actually surprised that disability advocacy groups don’t make a bigger stink about it… it completely makes life more difficult for blind people. I think about it every time I’m in Europe.. we’re the only country I’ve been to so far that has same-sized bills. Quite honestly, I don’t think it’s right and I wish we’d switch so we could help blind folks be more self-sufficient.

Lupin's avatar

Very well actually! Have you seen the blind cashiers at ABVI Good Will? They are the best! They have a reader that reads the bills and announces the denomination. On rare occasions the reader makes a mistake but the customers will always correct the mistake – even if it is not in their favor. The blind cashiers can do math better and faster than most sighted ones.

tallin32's avatar

Can’t speak for all blind people—but then, really, who can?—but there are a couple of different tricks I employ, depending on time, battery level (that will be made clear in a moment), location and… phase of the moon? It needed a fourth dependency. Anyway…
I keep track of bills by keeping them in a certain order in my wallet. As for determining that order, I can do one of the following:
If the change is less than $5, or the bills are all $1, I just go ahead and trust the cashier. There’s no way they can short-change me at that point.
If I’m out and about, I’ve got software that will read bills… actually built into my mobile phone. It will also read documents on the fly, books, business cards, and the occasional display screen.
If I’m at home or in my office, the same OCR software that I can use to read books, memos, magazines, etc. also has currency recognition, in the event that I lose track of how much currency I have on me.
As for… I don’t entirely remember who was talking about credit card transactions, but those are impossible to permanently defraud the blind individual. Let’s say, just for funzies, that I bought a laptop for $799. Dishonest John runs my card for $1500. I obsessively check my bank records and find the discrepancy. Visa’s Zero Liability kicks in at that point, and I’m not responsible for the extra $701. The transaction receipt would show the one product, so if it really came down to it, there’s your “legal protection” or what have you. This is providing, of course, that I didn’t snap a picture with the aforementioned mobile phone software and verify the receipt myself.
Once again, this is just me, and part of why I have access to all of this is that I could justify it for employment, and my employer has some really deep pockets. Other people have different means, and the question “how do blind people X” I expect has many answers.

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