The U.S. Currency Reader Program provides a free currency reader device called the iBill® Talking Banknote Identifier to all qualified U.S. citizens or legal residents who are blind or visually impaired.
The currency reader is a small, compact, handheld device which quickly identifies the bill’s denomination in one of three ways: 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. The currency reader identifies all U.S. currency in circulation, to include the $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
The currency reader runs on a triple-A battery, which is included. To use the currency reader, simply insert a U.S. bill into the reader and press the button. The device will tell the note’s denomination. The currency reader does not identify foreign or counterfeit banknotes. Headphones can be plugged into a 2.5mm. jack located on the right bottom edge of the device.
To request a currency reader, individuals must mail in an application form, email email@example.com, or call the U.S. Currency Reader Program office at 1-844-815-9388 and request that an application be mailed to you.
In addition to this standalone device, there are several smartphone apps that can determine a note’s denomination. EyeNote is a free mobile device application developed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing EP to assist blind or visually impaired consumers to identify currency. EyeNote uses image recognition technology and the mobile device’s integrated camera to recognize a bill and indicate the bill’s denomination. Eyenote is built on the Apple iOS platform and is available to download from the Apple App Store.
For Android users, the IDEAL Currency Identifier is a free downloadable app that uses text-to-speech voice and advanced image recognition technology to read a note and provide users with an audible response indicating the bill’s denomination. IDEAL works locally on the device and does not rely on connection to the internet.