Voice Technology on the Rise in Digital Banking

by on Mar 02, 2018

Financial institutions are exploring innovative ways to simplify everyday banking tasks with voice technology supplemented by artificial intelligence, such as USAA’s Siri-based account search. At some firms, voice recognition technology reflects an advancement toward biometric banking while at others voice commands offer the potential for mobile banking to become entirely hands free.

Identifying customers through their unique VoicePrint, TD Bank validates phone conversations with customer service representatives without the need for passwords or security questions. Barclays and HSBC employ similar vocal identifications to authenticate telephone banking interactions, allowing customers to use their voice as a verbal password, even if they have a cold or have begun transitional hormone therapy. Because voice identification considers hundreds of distinct characteristics, no two people’s voice profiles are exactly alike, meaning vocal recognition provides more security and faster customer service over the phone.

At another stage of voice technology development, both Ally Bank and Santander now allow customers use their voices to execute complex actions, such as paying their bills or transferring money to a friend. With a recently launched skill for Alexa-enabled devices, Ally’s customers can transfer money and track recent transactions with verbal commands. A unique financial wellness integration, CurrenSee, allows them to ask Alexa how many hours they would have to work to afford a purchase based on their annual income and average hours worked each week. Last year, Santander UK became the first UK bank to allow customers to make payments using their voice through the mobile banking app. In the United States, both Wells Fargo and USAA announced testing for its voice-driven personal assistant through the mobile app, though no timeframe has been specified for release to the general public. 

Going forward, banks should consider investing in voice technology. A Business Insider study estimates that voice payments will nearly quadruple in the next five years to reach 81 million consumers. With current options allowing users to remain confident in their banking security and benefit from convenience, future progress looks positive.