Ashley on vacation atop the yellow Pokemon character, Pikachu.

Guest post by Ashley Colburn, a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Theropist at the Carroll Center for the Blind where she has worked for five years. She instructs blind and visually impaired adults on a wide range of adaptive skills including assistive technology, braille, recordkeeping and home management.


Bill paying and moving your money around can be a challenge for anyone with vision loss in our world of paper communications. Getting a paper or electronic bill each month, having to fill out a check or on-line form to pay it off, and checking back a few days later is an unwanted drain on our precious time.

Luckily, electronic communications and convenience services are now well-established in mainstream society.

Automatic Payments

I strongly recommend to anyone (regardless of visual status) to consider enrolling in automatic bill payments. Each company will handle this a bit differently so it’s easier and safer to make all automatic payments from your bank account.

Banks have better security than regular businesses, and you will be dealing with all payments in one place. First you have to create an online account at your bank if you don’t already have one. Then navigate to the payment section, and then choose the automatic payment option. You then enter the payment details of each bill, and the timeline in which you want your payments to happen, and your notification preferences. That should be pretty much it. Payments should automatically be deducted from your bank each month. You never have to worry about missing a payment again. Set it and forget it!

I personally have my account set up to make the payment as soon as the bill is posted. I do not really care for having the deadline for payments taking place sometime in the next month. It just becomes too confusing to keep track of what charges are going out of my account and for which month. But I am lucky enough to be certain that I will have enough money in my bank accounts each month by the time my usual bills will come to me. If you are on a fixed or very-low income, perhaps only receiving disability payments at the beginning of each month, this may not be the option for you. You may wish to set up your automatic payments so that they always occur on the third of each month or occur the week before the bill is do.


Not every company offers automatic bill payments. Not all charges that come your way will be occurring on a regular basis. For example, a doctor’s bill for a one-time hospital stay is likely going to come to you in paper with no means of electronic payment. Feel free to write a check and send it off in the envelope that is usually enclosed with such bills if you are comfortable with that. There is another option if handwriting is not your strength.

Most banks now have accessible applications for smart phones and tablets. Each will be different, but most will have a payment area. You can fill out a payment form with the address of the company, your account with that company, and the amount. The bank will then send a check to that company on your behalf. You can often save the companies information within the application so that you can make future payments more easily.


If you use a credit card to pay for items and services, it is easy to pay off your credit card bill without paper or an application which requires technical know-how. You can simply call your bank. Most have automated services where you can press a button or say a phrase to indicate you wish to pay your credit card bill. You will need to know the number on your card, so make sure you have it written somewhere in large print, braille, or a nearby audio recording. Follow the prompts and you should be golden. You can also use this service to check on balances and activity for any account associated with that bank.


Almost every major chain bank has a talking ATM now. I usually encourage my students with accounts at small banks to consider transferring to a larger bank so that they will have more access to such services. For the talking ATM you just bring a set of standard headphones or earbuds with you and plug it into the jack, usually located on the bottom left under a portion of braille instructing you to plug in your headphones directly below. There is also usually a raised picture of a pair of headphones right above the jack. It will start talking as soon as you plug in the headphones. It talks you through all the steps of using the ATM gives the option of providing a description of where different elements of the ATM are located such as the card reader, and often provide the option of blacking out the screen for privacy.

Most ATM’s have the same layout on their pin pad. There is usually a telephone-style pin pad with a raised dot on the 5, an enter button on the bottom right with a raised circle on it, a back button with a dash on it above that, and a cancel button with a raised X above that.

Here are some credit card   alerts that could be helpful:

How to Set Up Credit Card Transaction Text Message Alerts…/consumer-watchdog-setting-credit-card-transactio…

Account Alerts |Chase Credit Cards –

3 Credit Card Alerts Worth Setting Up Now – NerdWallet

Visa Purchase Alerts | Credit Card Transaction Alerts | Visa

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