What is the U.S. Currency Reader Program?
As part of the U.S. government’s meaningful access initiative, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is providing a handheld currency reader device to U.S. citizens or legal residents who are blind or visually impaired at no cost to them.
What currency reader is provided and how does it work?
Eligible individuals receive a free iBill Talking Banknote Identifier, a small hand-held device that denominates all U.S. currency in circulation. When a user inserts a note and pushes a button on the side of the device, the reader announces the note’s denomination in one of three modes: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones, or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. The iBill runs on a triple-A battery, which is included and typically lasts for a year.
Must I provide proof of my visual impairment to get a reader?
To receive a currency reader, individuals must submit an application form, which requires verification of a visual impairment signed by a certifying authority, such as a doctor or other medical professional. If the applicant has verification of a visual impairment issued by another federal, state, or local agency, a copy can be submitted with the application in lieu of certification. If an applicant is currently a registered patron of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) the applicant can indicate that on the application and no additional certification is needed.
Where do I send my application and how long will it take to receive my reader?
The completed application should be mailed to: U.S. Currency Reader Program, 14th & C Streets, S.W., Washington, DC 20228. Upon verification, a currency reader will be shipped via U.S. Postal Service. Individuals should allow up to eight weeks for delivery.
Can I submit my application online, via fax, or over the phone?
Currently, the BEP is only accepting applications submitted by mail. The form-fillable application is available to download from https://www.bep.gov/services/currency-accessibility/us-currency-reader-program/us-currency-reader-application-form. If you prefer, you can call the U.S. Currency Reader Program Information Line toll free at 844-815-9388 and ask for an application to be mailed to you.
I am having trouble getting my currency reader to work.
Operating instructions in large print, braille, and on a CD are included in the currency reader package when it is shipped to you. Instructions are also available on the BEP website at www.bep.gov. Be sure the note is inserted snugly into the slot on the top of the device and that the unit is programmed to the desired output mode (speech, tone or vibration). If you are having difficulty, or need further assistance in operating your reader, please call toll free 844- 815-9388 and an operator can assist.
I received my currency reader and it is damaged.
If you have received your reader and it is broken, please call toll-free 844-815-9388 to request a replacement.
I’ve lost my reader. Can I request another?
If your reader has become lost or stolen, you may request a replacement by contacting toll-free 844-815-9388.
Can I get an additional currency reader?
The BEP will provide one free currency reader to any U.S. citizen, or person legally residing in the U.S., who is blind or visually impaired. The iBill Talking Banknote reader is a commercially available product, however, and individuals wanting additional readers can purchase them directly from the manufacturer.
Can I get a reader for my child, parent, or friend?
Parents or legal guardians for a child under 18, caregivers, legal guardians, or individuals with power of attorney may act as a proxy on behalf of a blind or visually impaired person. A certified application must be submitted for that individual.