First Direct enables customers to pay by Siri

Customers of online bank First Direct can now use voice commands to transfer money through Apple’s digital assistant

First Direct is offering UK customers a service to make payments using voice instructions without the need to open a banking app or enter a password.

The HSBC internet banking arm service uses Apple’s Siri digital assistant as the interface between the customer and the Paym mobile payment system to process real-time payments. Customers just tell Siri who to pay and what amount. Existing payees and mobile contacts can be paid using the service, which has a £350 daily limit.

Paym allows subscribers to transfer money to a recipient’s bank account using only their mobile phone number.

Apple iPhone’s Touch ID and Face ID authentication features are used to initiate the payment as an extra layer of security.

Joe Gordon, head of First Direct, said the bank was continuing to pioneer. “First Direct is the original challenger bank, and we’ve been a positive disruptive force for 28 years,” he said. “We keep pushing the boundaries for the benefit of our customers and our goal is always to make banking as easy and as human as possible.”

Separately, Santander is piloting a range of speech-controlled services with some customers in the UK, which includes making payments using voice commands.

iOS users of the bank’s SmartBank app are taking part in the pilot, which is the second phase of Santander’s voice-controlled banking initiative. It goes beyond voice-controlled security, allowing customers to ask questions which involve the app collating information.

Read more about voice recognition in banking

Dutch banking group ING Netherlands pioneered when, in 2014, it launched a banking application that could be navigated using voice recognition. It said future generations of the app would use biometric voice recognition for user authentication to replace PINs.

Six months later, Spain’s CaixaBank made it possible for mobile banking customers to make transactions using a voice-controlled Android app.

Customers can also make balance enquiries, transfer money and locate nearby cash machines by speaking into their mobile device on the bank’s mobile banking app Línea Abierta.

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