Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Accessible Feature in Redesigned U.S. $5 Bill

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Accessible Feature in Redesigned U.S. $5 Bill

Article excerpt

In September 2007, the U.S. government unveiled its 21st century redesign of the $5 bill, which features President Abraham Lincoln. The changes made to the bill are similar to those that have been made since 2003 to the $10, $20 and $50 bills: for example, pastel colors have been added to all redesigned currency as part of an effort to foil counterfeiters. A redesign of the $5 bill was not originally planned, but once counterfeiters began bleaching $5 notes and using the bleached paper to print fake $100 bills, the U.S. government decided it needed to change some of the features in the $5 bill that made it similar to the $100 bill, including the watermark image and location.

The redesign is good news for Americans with low vision, because one of the security features built into the new bill is a large-print numeral 5 printed in the lower right-hand corner of the back of the bill in high-contrast purple ink, a feature added specifically for individuals with visual impairments. "We wanted this redesigned bill to scream, 'I am a five. I am a five,'" said Larry Felix, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, United States Department of the Treasury.

Although individuals with low vision will benefit from the redesigned banknote, the new $5, like all American paper currency, remains inaccessible to the population of people who are blind. …

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