News: iOS users can now talk to the SmartBank app and ask about their spending habits.
Following hot off the heels of HSBC’s biometric banking and MasterCard’s selfie payments, Santander has become the latest financial organisation to embrace technology, becoming the first UK bank to launch voice banking.
Eliminating the need to manually search through statements, iOS users of Santander’s SmartBank app can ask simple questions about their card spend. Simple questions include:
– How much did I spend on New Year’s Eve?
– Show my transactions for the last week
– How much did I spend on Café Nero this month?
– Where did I spend the most money this month?
The technology differs from voice biometrics, which only uses customers to access accounts using their voice as a password, and will be rolled out in two phases. The first, introductory, roll-out is designed to help customers get to grips with the technology and basic features, providing the ability to ask about their card spend.
The second phase, scheduled for release later this year, will enable customers to fully service their accounts – this will include the ability to make payments, report lost or stolen cards and the setting up of account alerts.
Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive Officer Santander UK said: "Technology is rapidly changing how customers bank and pay on the move. We want banking to be simple, personal and fair and we believe technology, like voice banking, will play a transformational role in the way we add value by creating more choice and convenience for our customers."
Santander identified that voice is the most natural way to interact, merging this with its mobile banking to create a quick, simple and secure hands-free option. The technology, provided by Nuance Communications, can also be used as a tool for vulnerable customers who prefer to bank from home and find speaking easier than typing or using online banking.
Sigga Sigurdardottir, Head of Customer and Innovation at Santander said: "The worlds of technology and banking continue to evolve at pace. We are excited to be the first UK high street bank to bring voice-assistant technology into the customer user experience.
"Today sees us take the first step using this pioneering technology and the more customers use it, the more intuitive it becomes. We believe it has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience."
Responding to the voice banking launch, Anthony Duffy, Director of Retail Banking, UK and Ireland, Fujitsu, said: "Santander’s announcement that its customers will be able to use voice activated technology to make payments is the latest sign that interest in biometric technologies is accelerating."
"Deployment of biometric technologies in British banking is still in its infancy, but Fujitsu expects them to become commonplace. Biometric technologies are highly accurate, cost-effective and scalable, and customers are becoming increasingly familiar with them as they appear other parts of their lives. As users become comfortable with using the technology, and increasingly appreciate its value in strengthening security of personal and account information, we expect the number of deployments of biometric technologies within the financial services industry to increase rapidly."