Did you know that your iPhone can now act as a TTY device?

I have been having issues with the fact that to resolve a security issue with my credit card I can only use the telephone. They won’t allow you to deal with these issues by online chat or secure messaging. As you know I’m deaf, and the telephone is difficult for me. My new hearing aids help but for something as important as my finances I felt that it was important that I could communicate clearly.

So I complained to my bank that they only allowed telephone calls and didn’t appear to have a TTY number. (A TTY is text telephone). Not that I thought that I could call them using TTY as I didn’t think that I had a device; but it was the principle that I disagree with.

However, they kindly informed me that my iPhone is now capable of acting as a TTY device! So a few hours later I have my iPhone set up to act as a TTY device and accounts for IP relay or VRS (Video Relay Service).

I still didn’t have a TTY number for my bank. However, I could now contact them using relay services. Relay services are where I type my message to an operator who then speaks on my behalf to the person I’m communicating with. They type that person’s responses back to me so that the whole conversation is in text for me.

I’m proud to say that I just completed my first TTY relay service call! I actually used IP relay service as that uses my computer and gave me the advantage of a full size keyboard to work with rather than my iPhone’s keyboard. But the same system will work from my iPhone too.

I still disagree with the bank only allowing phone calls to deal with security issues. Especially, as using Relay I have to provide my account number, PIN and security question answers via the operator. So an unknown person now has my bank details. Ironically, that doesn’t seem very secure to me.

Just to be safe I have now changed my PIN. I also assume that there would be severe consequences for any Relay operator using the information they communicate in a call.

Anyway, for those of you that need it you can set up your phone under Settings, General, Accessibility, TTY. It’s great to be able to communicate so much more easily. Relay services can be used for personal calls too. Though the thought of having my conversation communicated through a third party disturbs me. However, it does mean that in a non 911 emergency I can get hold of help more easily than just relying on text.

It’s nice to see technology actually being used to improve accessibility. Welcome to the 21st Century!

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