Digital Banking

Santander Embraces 'Voice Banking' Tech

Santander Bank has launched a voice assistant for its banking application that comes with the smarts of iPhone's Siri.

"We are excited to be the first U.K. high street bank to bring voice assistant technology into the customer user experience," said Sigga Sigurdardottir, head of customer and innovation at Santander.

The voice assistant service, which, for now, has only been rolled out for U.K.-based customers, has the capability to pull transactions and process users' requests to find particular details on a charge.

"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,” Sigurdardottir added.

Much like Siri, the SmartBank app's assistant can address relevant questions directly addressed to it and can even do basic calculations to answer questions, like "How much did I spend on New Year’s Eve?" or "Where did I spend the most money this month?"

The tools backing the voice assistant technology also allow for the transactions to appear in real time and neatly lay out the name of the retailers, total money spent by day, month or year and total cash back used, the company explained.

“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,” said Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander U.K.

The technology, which Santander has developed in partnership with Burlington, MA-based Nuance Communications — the company behind the voice of Siri — will see the addition of new functionalities in the rollout of its next version that is set to be released in about six months.

The second version is expected to include voice-enabled payments, account alerts, stolen and lost card reporting and deeper insights into users' spending.



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