RNIB helps make new £20 note accessible to those with sight loss

RNIB helps make new £20 note accessible to those with sight loss

UK consumers now have access to a brand new £20 note, which has a range of innovative features designed to make it highly secure, but also user-friendly for the public.

The new note comes with tactile markings that distinguish it from the £10 and £5 notes, making it easier for people with sight loss to tell them apart. This could prove a particularly valuable addition for older people with visual impairments who don't feel comfortable using digital and electronic payment methods, meaning they still rely on physical currency.

Working in collaboration with the Bank of England, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) played a key role in the development of the new note.

The new £20

Purple in colour, the new £20 note features an image of the painter JMW Turner, along with unique features designed to make it difficult to counterfeit, including two see-through windows and a two-colour foil.

It is part of a new series of polymer notes that also includes the £5 and £10 notes, which bear images of Winston Churchill and Jane Austen, respectively.

Arguably the most interesting element of the new piece of currency is the set of three separate clusters of dots that run along its short edge, differentiating it from the £10, which has two groups of dots.

The RNIB's contribution

The RNIB helped in the development of the new note by getting more than 50 blind and partially sighted people involved in rigorous user testing.

David Clarke, director of services at the charity, said it was "delighted" to have had the opportunity to continue to work with the Bank of England on the redesign of the £20 note with accessibility in mind.

He pointed out that the difficulty of telling apart various notes and coins can make it a challenge for blind and partially sighted people to use cash.

"We hope the creation of these notes will help enable people with sight loss to use money more easily and with confidence," Mr Clarke added. "By incorporating tactile features on money, we are closer to creating a more inclusive society; it's the small changes that can make a big difference to independent living."

Sarah John, chief cashier at the Bank of England, said making currency accessible to everyone in society is "incredibly important" to the central bank.