Currency and Visual Impairment

American banknotes are the same size, weight, and texture regardless of denomination. This uniformity makes it difficult for people who are blind or visually impaired to determine the value of their banknotes. In 2015, the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing established the U.S. Currency Reader program to help provide people who are blind or have low vision with meaningful access to U.S. banknotes. 

The iBill Currency Reader

The iBill Currency Reader is a small, handheld device that reads all U.S. banknotes. The reader communicates the value of the banknote through a voice, pattern of tones, or pattern of vibrations. The vibration setting makes the iBill useful to people who are both deaf and blind. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing provides iBills to eligible individuals at no charge.

iBill Currency Reader, United States, 2015

Donated by Bureau of Engraving and Printing 

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Artifacts of Money and Visual Impairment

The iBill Currency Reader joins other objects in our collection that reflect an awareness of the need to make money accessible to all. Helen Keller signed this braille check. An Alabama state quarter honors Keller. A braille coin commemorates the birth of Louis Braille, creator of the tactile writing system.

Check for One Cent Signed by Helen Keller, United States, 1933

Donated by The Chase Manhattan Bank

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25 Cent Coin, United States, 2003

1 Dollar Commemorative Coin, United States, 2009

Transfer from U.S. Mint 

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