Financial service for the handicapped

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Today, many of Korea’s financial subjects have developed and are developing different systems that can help the handicapped to participate in financial activities. There are some systems that are already familiar to the public but also some that need yet to be spread out. Let’s look at some of the unique systems handicapped can get help from.

1. Counseling system for the deaf, through a internet chat-room.

Until now the FSS (Financial Supervisory Service) has been operating a call-center where one could get financial counseling by just dialing ‘1332’. Additionally since last December they are offering a [Internet chat room counseling system] for the deaf who cannot use the existing call-center system.

One can get to the system by just an easy click on the [chat-room counseling for the deaf] icon on the main page of the FSS. The chat-room doesn’t need any personal information besides the handicapped registration number and the type of counseling one wishes to get to enter. If one doesn’t know his or her registration number he or she can issue a handicapped registration card for free on the Civil Service Consultation Center webpage.

2. Sign language, and text message counseling service for the handicapped.

Banks are also trying to increase the quality of the service they offer to the handicapped. ATM’s specialized for the handicapped isn’t a option anymore, and other than that they install screen readers to reorganize their webpage, run a sign language service for the deaf and also a text message consulting service.

Shinhan has opened the first sign language consulting service in Korea to help the deaf. Through a videophone screen people can get a general idea of the bank which was very difficult through regular phones. Other than that Shinhan’s phone-baning service is connecting handicapped people directly to consultants instead of recorded voice messages.

Also Kukmin is operating a phone-banking service that is considering the handicapped. For the blind the phone-banking costs are exempted, and there is a system called the “KB Wise Phone-banking” which sends out voice and text messages simultaneously for the deaf. LG U+’s “My LG 070” service is limited only to internet phones but it provides wire transfer, balance and transaction confirmation and credit card services, through both voice and text messages for the handicapped to use.

3. Braille safety card for the visually handicapped.

The foreign exchange bank has released 2 new kinds of safety cards for better use of the electronic financial services for the visually handicapped. A ‘large-lettered safety card’ for people with low vision and a ‘braille safety card’ for the blind. These cards are as large as a bankbook and a table of random sampling digits are included for ones confirmation. These can be used in the same way as the regular cards.

Today’s disability discrimination act of Korea is prohibiting from 11th of April 2008  the discrimination in provision of financial products and services and orders to apply mandatory provision in convenience of Information and Communications  to the handicapped by the 11th of April 2013.

Through this act many banks are reorganizing their homepages for the convenience of the handicapped and are installing ATM’s for them to use. Yet some banks are still being passive in providing services that goes beyond the aid of the FSS. Many concerning voices say that therefore a lasting and sustainable system needs to be still developed to aid the handicapped in everyday life. Also there is still a need for a service that reflects the opinion of the actual users of it, an effective regulation and more promotion and guidance to increase the use of these systems.

Min-Kyoo Song (skydome123@naver.com)

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