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Santander introduces voice-controlled payments

Santander has taken its voice-controlled banking initiative to the next phase, with customers now able to make payments by voice

Santander customers in the UK can make payments using their voices as part of a pilot of a range of speech-controlled services.

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

Through the app, customers can vocally instruct the bank to pay someone at a certain time. This can be done with simple instructions such as: “Pay Julia £30 tomorrow.”

The voice control, which is provided by Nuance Communications, can also be used to report a lost card, and ask about spending trends and account balances.

Users can pay people on their existing payee list, and transactions appear in real time once payments are made.

“Voice assistant banking can also be a useful tool for vulnerable customers who prefer to bank from home and find speaking easier than typing or using online banking,” said the bank.

In March 2016, the bank launched phase one of the roll-out, which allowed customers to ask about their card spend via voice control. Questions the app could answer included: “Where did I spend the most money this month?”

Read more about voice recognition

Ed Metzger, head of technology innovation at Santander, said the appetite for simple, intuitive banking services has grown significantly in recent years.

“This technology has the potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience, playing a transformational role in the industry and redefining how customers manage their money.”

Read more on Financial applications

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