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After taking over a bank’s North American credit card services, a Fortune 500 bank holding company – based in the United States, with global operations and 45 million customer accounts – started to look seriously into the accessibility of its online credit card statements. The department it acquired had already faced a lawsuit for its inability to meet the needs of visually impaired customers, and the new parent company wanted to make sure it didn’t find itself in a similar situation. At the same time, it hoped to ensure that all of its customers were able to access their transactions in a manner that was comfortable to them.

The company had previously been relying on an opt-in program, sending statements in Braille, large print or audio CD when faced with a special request. Finding a tool that could work online and on-demand, while remaining cost-effective, would make for a more efficient and effective process, eradicating the need for those special requests, delays in delivery, and allowing customers to access their documents immediately, without facing any potential inconveniences.

In order to achieve that, the bank required a solution that would work with their high-volume print streams while also meeting regulatory compliance needs, saving them from future litigation.

The Accessibility Options

Prior to seeking out this online accessibility solution, the corporation already had a working relationship with Actuate. Since 2008, the financial organization had been using Actuate’s Document and Data Transformation technology to provide credit card statements online, allowing their customers to access transactional data outside of the firewall. Actuate converts the company’s Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) documents into readable PDFs, continuing to keep up with their demands by handling 40 transactions per second.

In 2012, when considering the accessibility needs for those credit card statements, Actuate was considered again. This time, the solution would need to work with the bank’s high-volume print streams with little uptick in processing time for accessible documents. It would also have to be transparent and work seamlessly with their current system, achieving accessibility on both historical and new statements. At the same time, the bank wanted a technology that would meet requirements outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Designed to meet accessibility regulations worldwide, Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution tags PDF documents on demand to make them readable by assistive technology. It fulfilled the bank’s business and technical needs, making PDFs available through a range of screen readers, including JAWS and Microsoft’s Window-eyes. The company’s previous experience with Actuate also made them confident that the solution would be a good fit with existing technology. Actuate was ultimately chosen for the job, allowing production on the project to begin.

The Actuate Difference

Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution was chosen for multiple reasons:

  • It is the only technology in the marketplace to offer accessibility on both historical and new statements.
  • Thanks to previous work with the financial services organization, Actuate was intimately familiar with technology requirements
  • Actuate’s technology was already being used to convert monthly, quarterly and annual AFP documents into PDFs, achieving on-the-fly transformations out of IBM Content Manager OnDemand (CMOD). Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution now works in conjunction with that transformation technology, requiring just one-third more processing time than a traditional AFP to PDF transformation.

Meet all Accessibility Needs

Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution is the only technology in the marketplace to offer accessibility on both historical and new statements, capturing and transforming high-volume print streams into accessible PDF documents for the visually impaired. The technology ensures that documents meet accessibility regulations, including those outlined in the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s proactive too, and will also comply with the anticipated 2013 amendments scheduled for the ADA, which will require all web content to be accessible. Finally, Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution was the only solution considered that was WCAG Version 2.0, Level AA compliant.

Meet Current Demands – and those of the Future
With the baby boomer population growing, an expanding percentage of customers are expected to suffer vision impairment, requiring assistive technology to accomplish everyday tasks such as evaluating bank transactions and credit card bills. Actuate’s PDF Accessibility Solution is scalable and will continue to meet the company’s needs as this demand grows, without an increase in storage requirements. As a partner with the American Foundation for the Blind AFB, Actuate will also keep up with all of the necessary regulations and requirements related to this market, amending its PDF Accessibility Solution as needed.