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Hear what you pay for: a ‘Voice Payment Card’ for greater inclusion

Thanks to the Thales Gemalto Voice Payment Card, blind and visually impaired people can enjoy a trusted and autonomous experience for their daily payments. The technology also helps people with other disabilities and can even translate and convert for those travelling to foreign countries.

Today, most banking services are not adapted for people with disabilities. Did you know, for example, that 90% of visually impaired people have already faced fraud or encountered a mistake at a point of sale*? This statistic prompted Thales to develop a solution that could offer people with impaired vision trust and autonomy when making payments. 

Working in collaboration with its partner Handsome, a Fintech specialist in inclusivity, Thales has used its expertise in secure payment and connectivity to develop a discreet and secure assistive technology solution. This inclusive payment solution gives people with visual impairments greater control of every payment they make, reassuring them that they are always being charged the right amount.

This unique innovation has now also been certified by Visa and Mastercard. Several banks will soon commercialise this one-of-a-kind solution, convinced of its interest for their clients.

“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’s key expertise in developing secure and convenient payment solutions, we decided to tackle concerns faced by blind and visually impaired people. Since then, it became apparent 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.”
Bertrand Knopf, Vice President Banking and Payment Services at Thales.

How does it work?

The Thales Gemalto Voice Payment Card works as a connected device that gets the amount from the point of sales terminal and communicates it to the mobile app via Bluetooth. The customer can then hear the information either through the phone’s speaker or through earphones.

This solution is compatible with all existing EMV payment terminals with no software or hardware update needed.

The process for the user is very simple:
  1. When a customer receives their new card, they just have to download the dedicated app on their phone (from the app store) and tap their card on it to pair the card with the app.
  2. Every time they make a payment, a secure, encrypted link connects their voice payment card to their mobile phone.
  3. Their phone voices the transaction amount to them before they enter their PIN on the Point Of Sale terminal to confirm payment.
  4. Their phone then delivers an audio confirmation of the transaction.


Other uses

Although specially designed by R&D teams for the visually-impaired, testing has demonstrated the usefulness of the system for anyone who struggles with point of sale transactions.

A variation has also been developed, helping people travelling to countries with unfamiliar languages and currencies. Using this same system, each transaction step in a foreign country can be translated into the user’s language. The system can also convert the amount into the user’s currency before final confirmation of the transaction.

Watch the video to find out more.

*according to a survey done in 2019 by Handsome and Ethik Connection among 120 people in France