Enabling voice-controlled payments, Turkey's Papara debuts accessible debit card

The neobank's CEO has pledged to make accessibility tech central to its business model.
Enabling voice-controlled payments, Turkey's Papara debuts accessible debit card

Turkey-based neobank Papara is launching a new mobile-enabled debit card that allows visually impaired customers to hear the billing amount in retail stores using its voice point-of-sale terminals.

The product has been developed in partnership with BlindLook, an advocate for visionless accessibility tech, as well as the global payments major Mastercard and French corporate Thales Group.

Billed as a world first, the Papara Voice Card needs to be linked to the smartphone app to read out transaction data from the payments terminal.

Both are powered by BlindLook's voice-activation technology catalysing efforts to use natural speech controls for the benefit of those living with visual disabilities.

Papara says the technology will allow the visually impaired to spend money on their debit card independently, giving them greater autonomy over their financial state of affairs, until now largely vision-based.

Emre Kenci, CEO of Papara, said: "Papara is a leading company in its field and are set on providing financial freedom to all. It is in our DNA to remove the borders, change the rules and provide freedom when it comes to finances. We believe that every organisation has responsibilities towards society and demonstrated this commitment by partnering with BlindLook last year. This year, we are saying 'Papara heard the voice'.

"There are over 285 million visually impaired people across the world, so often left behind by the financial services ecosystem, and Voice Card is the next step in enabling these individuals to live financially free lives.”

Mastercard's general manager in Turkey and Azerbaijan, Husnu Avsar Gurdal, added: "The most important feature we have added to Voice Card is our international network and the high security that Mastercard undertakes in every payment transaction. 

"The democratisation of payments and the construction of sustainable economies are only possible if each individual has access to the system. We are very happy to be involved in this project and to enable Voice Card to accept payments all over the world.”

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