Federal Reserve notes are the same size and weight regardless of denomination. Because there is no tactile difference between a $5 and $20 bill, for example, blind and visually impaired individuals may experience difficulties denominating Federal Reserve notes.
In May 2011, then Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner approved methods that the Department of the Treasury will use to provide blind and visually impaired individuals with meaningful access to U.S. currency. The approved methods include:
- A Raised, Tactile Feature: Adding a raised tactile feature to U.S. currency unique to each U.S. Federal Reserve note that it may lawfully change1, which will provide users with a means of identifying each denomination via touch. BEP will consult with currency stakeholders at all stages of the process. 1Currently, U.S. law prohibits any changes to the $1 Federal Reserve note
- High Contrast Numerals: Continuing the program of adding large high contrast numerals and different colors to each denomination that it is permitted by law to alter. BEP will consult with currency stakeholders at all stages of the process.
- A Currency Reader Program: Implementing a supplemental currency reader distribution program for blind and visually impaired U.S. citizens and those legally residing in the U.S.