Key Facts You Might Not Be Aware Of Regarding Section 508 Accessibility For Banks And Financial Institutions

  • 10.05.2023

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    Section 508 as an extension of the ADA

    Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been broadened from physical spaces to encompass digital platforms by Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act?

    The ADA, which came into effect in 1990, forbids discrimination against people with disabilities in all spheres of public life, including employment, transportation, and all publicly accessible venues, both public and private. The goal of this law is to guarantee that everyone, including those with disabilities, has the same rights and opportunities.

    Under the ADA’s Title III, banks and other financial institutions are required to give equal treatment to all their customers, be they with or without disabilities. Section 508 extends this requirement into the digital space. It requires the US federal agencies to make all information and communication technology (ICT) free of any undue burden for employees and users with disabilities.

    How Section 508 accessibility is linked to banking and financial institutions

    Banks and other financial institutions are subject to the ADA by virtue of being commercial entities. If you own a bank or other kinds of financial institutions, you may be wondering how these institutions come into the ambit of Section 508, given that the law applies to federal agencies and contractors.

    Along with providing services to private clients, banks and other financial organizations also provide services to the federal government. Since federal agencies bank with or engage in monetary transactions with the available banks and financial institutions, such institutions are unquestionably federal contractors.

    Any organization that has successfully filed a bid or proposal in response to a competitive solicitation for the provision of products or services to the soliciting federal agency is referred to as a “federal contractor.” The bank or financial institution that receives the contract from a federal agency to offer banking or financial services is considered a federal contractor and must comply with Section 508 compliance requirements.

    Customers in the banking and financial industries are using interactive websites and mobile apps more frequently, which emphasizes the need for Section 508. The great majority of bank and financial institution customers who have Internet connections are now using these services more and more frequently.

    A significant portion of bank and financial institution customers are using financial services through mobile devices to perform tasks like checking their bank balances, transferring funds, and conducting other financial activities. This has now made it commonplace for banks and financial institutions to offer services in digital form, which is why making the services Section 508-compliant is critical.

    Inclusive digital banking and financial services ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the benefits that digital solutions offer to banking and financial institution customers. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide authoritative standards for accessible digital banking and other financial services.

    The WCAG, which is published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), outlines certain success factors for mobile apps and accessible websites.

    Section 508 accessibility experts can identify and fix components of banking sites that don’t adhere to Section 508 or the ADA by using the success criteria, which offers a thorough checklist of Section 508 compliance requirements. Websites must adhere to WCAG 2.0 requirements at the AA level as of the 2018 revision to Section 508.

    Thus, whether you work for a bank or other financial institution and are concerned about ADA compliance, Section 508 compliance, or both, you should aim for Level AA WCAG success criteria compliance, which starts with Section 508 compliance testing to find the WCAG failures associated with the digital property.

    The VPAT process is complicated. Let us handle it for you.

      Facts about Section 508 compliance for banks and financial institutions

      It helps to keep in mind a few fundamentals if you run a bank or other financial institution because they will motivate you to work toward Section 508 accessibility for your digital goods and services. The fundamentals are as follows:

      1. People with disabilities urgently need accessible digital financial services

      Offering digital banking and financial services is an important way of ensuring the inclusion of consumers with disabilities. However, due to barriers to access, consumers with disabilities often get marginalized.

      Given that many people with disabilities do not always have access to alternatives to digital financial activity, such as handling paper statements and going to actual banking branches, it is important to work toward making websites and online opportunities that assist customers with disabilities barrier-free.

      1. Banking and financial institutions are facing lawsuits

      Although Section 508 compliance helps banking and financial institutions avoid ADA-related lawsuits as well as reap the opportunities provided by being able to win government contracts, some banks and financial institutions have ignored it and found themselves facing ADA Title III legal suits.

      With the number of accessibility lawsuits reportedly on the rise and the Department of Justice’s determination that preventing some customers from conducting financial transactions online is equivalent to prohibiting those customers from entering your building, the cards are being rolled against banks and financial institutions that are not making their digital or online services accessible.

      1. It is not difficult to make your financial digital services accessible

      It’s not as difficult to make your financial digital services available as many banks and financial institutions believe. Working with professionals with experience in bringing financial digital properties into Section 508 compliance and supporting you with continuing monitoring to ensure they continue to fulfill the technical standards of WCAG 2.0 is simple when working with organizations like ADACP. The cost reductions and other advantages for your bottom line greatly surpass the expenditures you’ll need to make.

      1. Having inclusive financial digital properties is innovative marketing

      Did you know that people with disabilities make up around one-fifth of the whole US population and earn a combined total of more than $872 billion? This group is looking for products and services that are inclusive and accessible, even in the banking and financial services industry.

      Some people with disabilities have personal experiences that lead them to search for organizations that understand the realities of their lives and are practical in their approach to providing them with answers to make their lives easier.

      Many of these people will purposefully avoid doing business with organizations that show disregard for the needs of people with disabilities. You’ll be creatively marketing your products or services to this group of clients in a big way by proactively making your banking and financial services accessible.

      Need help testing the accessibility of your financial digital property?

      You need to ensure that all your organization’s digital assets are accessible to everyone. This includes your website, mobile apps, and PDF documents, among others.

      More people will be able to use your banking or financial services if accessibility is given top priority. Additionally, you’ll make your consumers who have disabilities feel valued and understood. For more information on accessibility services for banks and financial institutions, call ADACP at (626) 486-2201. They can assist you with testing and making your financial digital assets Section 508 compliant.