Walmart's PIN Pads Are Hard To Use, Say Advocates For The Handicapped. They're Not The Only Ones Who Think So

Walmart was sued on Wednesday (July 25) by a California advocacy group for the disabled, who complained that the retail giant isn't meeting federal or state laws because its PIN pads are too high for customers in wheelchairs to use. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said Walmart has wheelchair-accessible PIN pads in some of its 200-plus California stores but hasn't deployed them for the rest of its checkout lanes, forcing some customers to "stretch and strain"—or tell the cashier their PINs.

It's not clear exactly what the solution would be—two PIN pads at each checkout lane? A swinging arm or mini-elevator that brings the PIN pad up from wheelchair height to a level where a six-foot-four customer can use it without a backache? But realistically, there's a bigger problem: Most PIN pads are designed to be compact and secure, not easy to use for anyone. They're hard to read, hard to use and miserable to sign for all customers, not just the wheelchair- and scooter-bound. If this lawsuit can force Walmart to find and deploy a truly usable PIN pad, it could actually make all its customers happier—wheeled and non-wheeled alike.