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 products that can help.


Note gauges

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

Note checker:

  • You are also able to purchase your own note checker from our online shop. The note checker works by simply inserting the note lengthways until it fits into the checker.

Note detector

  •  Alternatively, you can get a note detector, which is a small device that identifies different notes and lets you know by using a unique vibration for each denomination. It will detect the £5, £10, £20 and £50.

There is also a version to identify Euros for when you're out of the UK.

You can purchase these products from our shop or by contacting our Helpline on:

If you prefer not to use products to identify your bank notes, perhaps "The Arthur Pearson method" is better for you. Simply slide the note between your first and second finger. The ten pound note will be the same length as the 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. The big problem may be ensuring that you have a £5, £10 and £20 note for comparison all at the same time!

New polymer bank notes

The new polymer bank notes will have the same features as the paper notes: the notes retain tiered sizing and include bold numerals and similar colour palettes to the current notes. In addition, polymer £10 and £20 notes will each have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots. The £5 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 note introduced on 13th September 2016 and the old note was phased out on 5th May 2017

The new £10 note note will be introduced on 14th September 2017 and the old note phased out in Spring 2018.

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


RNIB has a range of simple coin holders including £1, 50p, 20p and 10p coins. There are also coins holders which act as key fobs, in addition to storing your coins. Both of hese can also be purchased from our shop or from our Helpline on:

Top tips

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

Did this answer your question?

Your feedback will help us to keep improving this website.

Make a donation

Right now we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most.

Please make a donation and help us support more blind and partially sighted people.

Regular donation Single donation