The use of devices supporting hands-free banking is on the rise.
But which devices are consumers actually using — smartphones or smart home devices?
According to a recent blog post from Nadia Benaissa, a marketing manager at CR2, smart home devices seem to be taking the lead in the battle for attention in the voice-activated banking space.
“The campaign to establish a market leader in the smart home device market really began when Amazon launched its Echo smart home device two years ago,” Benaissa explained.
For consumers, being able to bank at their own pace and make informed decisions from the comfort of their own home is an important convenience factor.
Take Amazon’s integration with Capital One, which aims to make mortgage payments a little bit more convenient by allowing users to check their credit card balances with nothing but their voices and connected accounts. Users can link their home and auto accounts to their Echo devices, which will allow them to ask for information on upcoming and scheduled payments and to post payments of their own.
But the fundamentally shared network environment used by connected devices poses considerable security risks, Benaissa noted.
“The industry is moving fast — too fast — and banks either have to take a calculated risk in order to take the lead or miss the curve and continue to lose out on profits,” she said. “It is really interesting to see how innovators and disruptors will reach out to customers in a more meaningful and personal way, and while they do, we need to take inspiration from this.”
Smartphones also offer various voice and hands-free features that enable consumers to perform capabilities related to their banking services.
Benaissa drew on the example of Bank of America customers, who can now use their voice commands from their Windows devices to find nearby bank locations, contact customer service, look up their account balance and access screens to pay bills and transfer funds.
“The smartphone has become a consumer’s life companion, a companion they listen to and carry around all day. Today, smartphone penetration and mobile banking figures are at an all-time high. It is plausible to search for new banking channels, but it’s also very profitable to focus on a powerful banking channel we already have: the smartphone,” Benaissa said.