/ Money

Does disability discrimination go on in financial services?

Woman using a Chip and Signature card

Disability discrimination, like scurvy and rationing, should be a thing of the distant past but unfortunately there are still examples of financial companies letting down disabled people.

It’s against the law to discriminate against disabled people under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and subsequently the Equality Act 2010.

And yet, I can think of examples where banks and other financial service providers are still letting people with disabilities down – and could even be testing the law.

Not right – but is it discrimination?

Sadly, financial companies could be breaching these regulations in a number of ways.

The most obvious example is granting Chip and Signature cards. People should be allowed one of these cards if they’re unable to remember their Pin or operate a Chip and Pin terminal. But is this always the case – are banks giving them out to everyone who needs one?

We’ve spoken to a Which? member who has a Chip and Pin card but cannot physically enter the Pin number – surely, he should be given a Chip and Signature card as an alternative. Instead he struggles to use his Chip and Pin.

Bank and building society branches and other services should also be fully compliant with the relevant legislation. This means that wheelchair access to branches and cash machines should be the same as for able-bodied individuals. The best providers will also make the branch experience as seamless as possible for these consumers.

Access for power of attorney

We get lots of feedback from members about arranging power of attorney and giving them appropriate access to accounts. It’s no good granting power of attorney if financial institutions then put unnecessary restrictions on how an attorney can access accounts. For example Which? Conversation commenter Sue Shaw told us:

‘I have Enduring Power Of Attorney, all legally done through my solicitor, for my mother-in-law. But her bank, Nationwide, will not accept this document unless my mother-in-law goes to the bank in person to be questioned and to fill out the necessary bank forms. She is unable to do this due to poor health but the bank would not accept this or send the forms to her.’

In this case Sue should make a formal complaint to Nationwide, as her mother-in-law shouldn’t have to fill out any forms or visit a branch.

So do you think that you’ve experienced disability discrimination in relation to how you manage your finances? Have you experienced any of the problems I’ve suggested – or perhaps you have different examples to share?


Worst is the Financial Ombudsman’s Call centre on corporate remits[ bias] maladministrating who are financed by those such as Banks they investigate. Not one call centre now have disability coordinators so if dyspraxic[ numbers / location /sequencing] like me you have trouble putting money in or taking out.Managers are no longer in control but seem to be pawns of call centre & their policies, procedures & remits.
I joined the Nationwide because the Manager was so helpful . Now she is the devil incarnate.They sold Car Insurance leaving customers in limbo and ripped off.I know they are all as bad as each other and are copying each other with no discretion or flexibilty.
Worst is visa who they use when it suits them but the debit & credit don’t liase consequently if you are in credit at end of month because pay off balance in full disregard. Blocking payments when moneyis in your so called flexaccount operating rigidly . If there is a problem they take over 3 mths to investigate often getting it wrong as take side of the biggest bank account.
As for verified by Visa that treats account holders as frauds.That another issue.
I never had a problem for long before these call centre when managers had authority & responsibility in Trading Standards.

All these organisations are breaking the law The Chronically Sick & Disabled Act 1970 & deregulated Government are allowing this to happen ,Shame.


British Bankers’ Association here. Be fair, Paul. Your title (“Does disability discrimination still go on in financial services?”) assumes discrimination went on in the past – in journalism schools they call this the “When did you stop beating your wife?” construction.

And there are a few other things. Banks can and do offer chip-and-signature cards for those customers who cannot use chip-and-PIN cards – they only need ask. Enduring Powers of Attorney were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney and may only be used if made and signed before October 2007. Banks can help you to take on the financial and property affairs of someone who lacks the capacity to look after some – or all – of their own financial affairs: see our guide online at http://www.bba.org.uk/publications/entry/banking-for-people-who-lack-capacity-to-make-decisions-england-and-wales/leaflets/. And identify verification is demanded by anti-money laundering rules, rather than bank requirements set by financial institutions.

Finally – crucially – if you are a customer with specific needs, please, please let your bank know. They will work to meet your needs.


Hello BBA, we’ve taken your point on board about the title and have decided to edit out the word ‘still’. Thanks very much.

Angela says:
3 November 2017

Hello BBA, troling through the internet this morning in the hope that I may find some changes to legislation to stop companies like ‘Amigo’ trying to take advantage of my disabled child who has autism and a learning disability – who is 34 years old, I find your blog. All my childs mail is redirected to me so I have the opportunity to read letters like the one this morning from Omigo which quotes ‘Amigo started back in 2005 to provide simple, fair loans to people who were being unfairly rejected because of their credit score’ ….on this point why would it be fair to overrule the credit score of anyone, why have a credit score? The letter continues ………. ‘Our idea was to base decision on common sense, have human conversations with customers to make sure we were only lending them what they could afford, and judge them on whether their friends and family trusted them, not on what a computer said about them’ …… I find this totally manipulative? I have lasting power of attorney, which cost me over £600, and not once has anybody contact me about an application my child has made. I have enforced the LPA on companies like Amigo, including ‘Very’, ‘Capital One’ and ‘EE’ going through their so called ‘specialist support teams’, but been completely ignored … They will just not leave my child alone!!! Yes I am angry because most of my time is spent picking up the pieces after these companies, protecting my child from court action I am now considering taking all the companies to court, including banks who have ignored me. I have no faith in the system and find it more than ironic to discover more information on equality for disabled people through pay day loans than how to prevent companies like I have mentioned, who are similar to Brighthouse, from operating.

Mikhail says:
22 October 2011

Disabled people can always use cash, if they can’t remember the PIN I can’t see why they should be allowed to use credit cards, because obviously they won’t remember any transactions including fraudulent transactions (if any), so I can’t see why banks have to be responsible for that. I’m sorry but disability is a limitation of human abilities. There should be a REASONABLE limit of what disable people can expect. The Nationwide example from my point of view is very unreasonable, but chip & PIN is absolutely acceptable.

Linda Woodhead says:
14 June 2015

Sorry Mikhail, I am disabled and have been for many years, during a spell of very bad illness I set up a power of attorney for my daughter, I also had her name added to my bank accounts, and copies of power of attorney where given to each bank. Also since I cannot hold a pen it was discussed and decided that a name stamp be provided, now this is great I can pay in any shop I go too. Cash is no good as I cannot get hold of it and when I do it falls through my fingers. So you see not all disabilities are there for you to see so you have no idea what difficulties people go through. So a little knowledge, consideration and patience goes a long way.


I can’t believe someone of the mentality above is given a voice . If he is British I am ashamed. Otherwise….There are often those on the borderline of disabillity as they age. If you run a system with unmonitored staff attitudes unable to address reasonably like the above this is how we get a suspect system like this.

Mikhail says:
24 October 2011

So what do you suggest? I understand that what I said is cruel but it is also real. I’m not fantasising about equal life for everyone, I know it is impossible at this stage. What I see in the article is a suggestion to cut off a leg of a healthy horse in order to make a sick horse to feel better.

Ben says:
19 June 2016

Hi mikhail let me remind you that UK is a developed country and has no place for your inability to be open minded and inclusive. I said this because your name suggests your Eastern European.