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PayPal Please Fix Your Accessibility

PayPal please make your website and app more accessible for those of us who use screen readers! You’re making it extremely hard to run a small business as a person who’s blind!

Launching a small business that takes online payments means you’ll pretty much have to use Paypal and when their system isn’t accessible this means you can’t be successful. For the last 2 weeks I’ve been encountering inaccessible parts of Paypal’s system that makes it extremely difficult to launch my business.

My Paypal account is currently restricted and to get past this I had to scan my photo ID and insert tracking numbers to prove packages were in fact being shipped and arriving at the customer’s location.

I tried for 3 hours to scan my photo ID without any success. The app wasn’t giving me any feedback as far as camera positioning or any feedback as to why it kept failing. Now Android and iPhones have really awesome accessibility with their native camera apps that give blind users guidance on where objects and faces are within the camera’s frame. However Paypal doesn’t let you use the native camera app and you’re unable to scan your ID, unless of course you ask a sighted person to do it!

Asking a sighted person to handle my business isn’t the answer #Paypal. You’re a multi-billion dollar company who should be providing accessibility features with every single service you offer. Just because a sighted person can use it doesn’t mean it’s usable for everyone!

I finally felt discouraged enough and defeated enough to ask my roommate for help, thus adding another point to friend fatigue. She helped me but my point is she shouldn’t of had to step in and help. @Paypal needs to take the steps to make every single screen, page, process and function of their system accessible to all!

So now that the ID is no longer a problem I now need to prove product fulfillment. This means going onto the website or the app and inserting tracking numbers into a window that pops up.

Let’s pause this process for a moment so I can point out something. There’s a section of the website that’s completely accessible which allows me to insert tracking numbers for each order. It lets me say the package is shipped and it sends the tracking number to the customer. I thought that this would be enough proof for Paypal that the products were being sent out and delivered.

Nope, silly me. Looks like this part of the system isn’t communicating with the part of the system that manages account restrictions. Multiple packages have been shipped and delivered but Paypal still says I haven’t verified product fulfillment.

Okay back to the process of proving to Paypal I’m not a scammer and customers are indeed receiving my products. On the screen where you can resolve the fulfillment restriction a window pops up. I know this because a sighted friend said so. From a screen reader’s perspective though, tapping the button doesn’t do anything.

I’ve tried using my Android with the Talkback screen reader. I’ve tried using Windows with NVDA and narrator with no success. In order to get this information placed into Paypal’s system I’m going to have to ask a sighted person to help me again.

When we as blind people keep needing to ask sighted people for help this can cause friction in the friendship known as friend fatigue. It isn’t something we like having happen and it shouldn’t be happening based on the lack of accessibility.

I’ve currently had to put my business on hold until I can get my Paypal account unrestricted. Because my account is restricted I’m unable to move the money I’ve earned from sales into the bank to pay for more products to sell. Their lack of accessibility is going to mean I can’t pay bills, buy groceries or keep my business growing. Imagine if a bank didn’t let you withdraw your money because you couldn’t see. I’m unable to access the money I’ve earned through my hard work because @Paypal isn’t accessible.

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