What help is there for handling money and paying with cash?

Handling cash can be a challenge if you're blind or partially sighted because it's often difficult to tell the difference between denominations. There are a few things that can help.

Notes

You can ask your bank for a note gauge, which will allow you to work out the difference between notes.

If you have an iPhone, you can also download an app called LookTel Money Reader which recognises multiple currencies and reads out the amount back to you, while displaying the amount in large numerals on the screen. The app doesn’t require an internet connection to work, and you don’t need to take a photo of the currency notes – the app will recognise them instantly. This app can be purchased from the App Store.

You could also use 'The Arthur Pearson method' you just simply slide the note between your first and second finger. The ten pound note will be the same length as your first finger, the five pound will be shorter, and the twenty pound longer.

Obviously not everyone has the same length fingers, but with a little experimentation you can find what is right for you. 

New polymer bank notes

The new polymer bank notes will have the same features as the paper notes, retaining their tiered sizing, bold numerals and similar colour palettes. In addition, the £10 and £20 polymer notes will each have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots. The £5 polymer note will be distinguishable by the absence of the feature. 

The Bank of England has worked closely with RNIB to ensure that these notes are accessible to blind and partially sighted people.

The new £5 note was introduced on 13 September 2016 and the old note was phased out on 5 May 2017

The new £10 note note was introduced on 14 September 2017 and the old was note phased out o1 March 2018.

The new £20 note will be introduced and the old note phased out in 2020.

Coins

UK coins are thankfully quite easy to distinguish, as they come in different shapes and sizes.  However, you can purchase coin holders from online stores such as Amazon in order to further help you.

Top tips

We've produced a top tips sheet which contains some more information on how to handle cash and make payments.

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