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February is Low Vision Awareness Month: If You Have Vision Loss, Gain Added Independence and Security Apply For a Free Currency Reader Today!

February 12, 2021

ContactLydia Washington

Washington, DC – February 12, 2021 – In observance of Low Vision Awareness Month, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), in partnership with the Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), reminds the public that the U.S. Currency Reader Program provides free currency reader devices to blind and visually impaired U.S. citizens and legal residents. The iBill® Talking Banknote Identifier is a small hand-held device that denominates all U.S. currency in circulation at the push of a button.

To date, more than 82,157 currency readers have been distributed to eligible U.S. citizens and legal residents. “Over the years we have received extremely positive responses from the blind and visually impaired community, cash handlers, and business owners about the usefulness of the currency readers and mobile apps,” said BEP Director Len Olijar. “If you are blind or visually impaired, I encourage you to apply for a currency reader or download one of our mobile apps today. And if you know someone who is blind or visually impaired, please let them know about this program.”

The iBill® operates in one of three modes: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones, or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. The vibration mode also assists people who are deaf and blind in identifying a note’s denomination. The device uses a single AAA battery, which is included. Also included in the box are instructions in Braille, large print, and a CD.

For those who prefer a digital option, the BEP also offers two free mobile device applications that denominate currency, the EyeNote® for Apple iOS and the IDEAL® Currency Identifier for Android users. To date, there have been more than 117,467 downloads of BEP-sponsored mobile applications.

To request an iBill® currency reader for yourself or someone else, complete the application on BEP’s website at https://www.bep.gov/services/currency-accessibility/us-currency-reader-program/us-currency-reader-application-form, in English or Spanish. You may also email meaningful.access@bep.gov to have an application mailed to you. Registered U.S. patrons of the NLS can contact NLS directly to receive a currency reader. Please note that due to the pandemic situation, there is currently an extended delay in currency reader fulfillment.

The BEP also has a special program in place to assist healthcare and social welfare organizations with their clientele demonstration and distribution needs. Interested parties should email CurrencyReaderPartners@bep.gov for more information.

Visit BEP’s website for additional information about the meaningful access initiative and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @USMoneyfactory.