More proof that voice control is the future…
Santander is now letting customers make payments just by asking their phone, along with several other new functions that work in a similar way to Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa
Users of the bank's SmartBank app can use their voice to check their account balance, report a lost or stolen card and even ask about transactions to keep an eye on how much they're spending.
For example the command "pay Joe £10" would transfer money to that person's account while you can ask questions such as "what's my balance" and "how much did I spend on holiday". Like most banking apps, you can only pay people you already have set up.
It's the latest addition to Santander's voice control functionality which first launched last year.
“The worlds of technology and banking continue to evolve at pace, working hand in hand to deliver a friction-free user experience. We are excited to be the first UK high street bank to enable customers to make payments using just their voice, offering them another channel of choice in how they wish to bank," said the bank's head of technology innovation Ed Metzger.
“Appetite for simple, intuitive banking solutions has grown significantly in recent years. This pioneering technology has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience, playing a transformational role in the industry and redefining how customers choose to manage their money.”
Several high street banks, including Barclays and HSBC are using voice controls as a secure way of logging into internet banking instead of the traditional password, but beyond biometrics, Santander is the first to add voice as a navigation tool.
Amazon's hit device Echo has pioneered the concept of voice assistants with Alexa helping out at home. And its popularity has signalled a switch from screens to voice as a way of interacting that has caught the imagination of many in technology. Alexa appeared in many of the products demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, and the technology was last week made available in the UK for integration within other products such as cars.