Managing your money with little or no sight

A Connect magazine article

From Issue 6 published August 2016

When you are blind or partially sighted, there are all sorts of things that can make managing your money a bit challenging. One person who knows this all too well is Sabeena, who recently lost her sight.

Sabeena has RP (retinitis pigmentosa) in both eyes and has had to learn very quickly how to manage her money without sight. She shared some tips on how she keeps a handle on her finances with RNIB Connect team member Leeanne Coyle.
“I live in London. I am registered as severely sight impaired. The main reason why I like to do banking online is because I find it difficult to go to the bank.
NatWest have developed a new app that is completely accessible if you are a Voice over user. This app allows me to transfer money safely, make payments safely and also withdraw cash.”

How does cash withdrawal work?

“There is a feature in the app called Get Cash. So you don’t even have to carry your bank card with you, you only need your mobile phone. It’s a safe, easy and accessible technique. Contact your bank or building society directly to find out about their mobile banking app and accessibility.” 

Are there any other tips that you can give people out there?

“I struggle to sort notes out. So now I use a money sorter. It’s a little card you can buy from RNIB. It has ‘steps’. 
It’s a card you can open, you put your note inside and you can feel the ridge of the note and just trace your finger up to where it ends. Five pounds is the lowest step and then £10, then the step higher than that is £20 and the last step is £50.”

As someone who’s recently lost their sight, how did you feel to find out you’re eligible for the Blind Person’s Tax Allowance?

“When I first found out that I’m eligible for tax relief, I was thrilled. I have to spend more money eating or buying my food as I struggle to cook and prepare my own meals, which doesn’t let me save a lot. So I was really pleased when I heard I’m eligible.” 

Find out more 

For help and advice on the Blind Person’s Tax Allowance contact the RNIB Tax Advice service on 0345 330 4897 or email [email protected]
If you’d like to find out about more useful products and gadgets, including the note checker Sabeena mentioned, visit RNIB’s online shop or call the Helpline.
0303 123 9999