Promoting inclusivity in the banking industry: voice payment cards

Last updated: 19 December 2022

The banking sector continues to innovate, putting user experience front and centre. Whether that’s online banking, mobile and contactless payments or biometric authentication – the innovation we’ve seen in the past decade has all been driven to improve services for customers wherever they are in the world, safely and conveniently.

Why is there a need for voice payment cards?

While these services have developed, the banking sector must ensure that they are thinking about inclusivity and not leaving anyone behind. For example, as it currently stands, most banking services are not adapted for people with disabilities. 90% of visually impaired people have once in their lifetime faced fraud or encountered a mistake at a point of sales.

It was this statistic that prompted the development of the Voice Payment Card, which offers trust and autonomy to people with impaired vision; enabling them to enjoy the same convenience without compromising on security.

First unveiled in September, this assistive technology has now been certified by Visa and Mastercard.

How do voice payment cards work?

With our partners Handsome, a French fintech which specializes in building solutions for people with disabilities, we designed the new Voice Payment Card which works in tandem with a mobile app uniquely associated with each card.

When users pay at a point-of-sale (POS) terminal, transaction data is communicated via Bluetooth between the card and the user’s mobile phone and the app vocalizes the amount before letting users validate it with their PIN. Customers can hear the information through the device’s speaker or earphones.

The whole process is designed to be as simple and easy to use as possible:

1. When a customer receives their new card, they tap it on their phone to pair the two devices.

2. Every time they make a payment, a secure link connects their voice payment card to their mobile phone.

3. Their phone then voices the transaction amount to them before they enter their PIN on the POS terminal to confirm payment.

4. Their phone then delivers an audio confirmation of the transaction.

5. To ensure security, each payment card is uniquely paired to the customer’s smartphone.

Addressing inclusivity in banking

Thales cares about social concerns and building a more inclusive society, and part of this drive is aiming to provide everyone with access to payment solutions.

Speaking about the impact of the Voice Payment Card, Bertrand Knopf, Vice President Banking and Payment Services at Thales said: “At Thales we know innovation has the potential to solve a multitude of issues. That’s why, with the support of Handsome and based on Thales’ key expertise in developing secure and convenient payment solutions, we decided to tackle concerns faced by blind and visually impaired people. Since then, it appeared that the solution has proven to be useful for other disabilities. All in all we are thrilled to see our innovations contribute to building more sustainable and responsible payment solutions.”

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