Digital Banking May tracker
Digital Banking

Say ‘Hello' To … Voice Banking?

Banking is now entering the on-demand, voice-activated fold. In the May edition of the Digital Banking Tracker™, PYMNTS spoke with Ed Metzger, Santander UK’s Head of Innovation, Technology and Operations, about how they are leveraging this hot new technology to reimagine how banking happens in an app-based technology-driven world. The Tracker also ranks more than 58 players (including 10 new ones) to assess their readiness to drive digital banking innovation.

“Siri, help me find the nearest Starbucks.”

“Hey Cortana, play some yacht rock.”

“Alexa, pay cable bill.”

This month’s Digital Banking Tracker™ cover story features an interview with Ed Metzger, Santander UK’s Head of Innovation, Technology and Operations, about their early feedback from incorporating a voice assistant into their student-focused SmartBank app - and what’s next for voice technology in banking.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Santander UK saw voice technology as an opportunity for in-app banking experimentation, Metzger said, not just because of its rising popularity, but also because it’s natural for customers.
“We are seeing voice technology improving, and clearly, as a human being, the voice is the most natural way to communicate,” he explained. And that’s consciously, despite the proliferation of texting and instant messaging, he added. “Actually, the easiest way to communicate is voice. So that customer need combined with the improvement in technology and the increasing acceptance of voice is what inspired us to invest in this particular proposition, to test out how banking would work using voice.”
User comfort and familiarity with voice technology in general, Metzger said, is a big factor in driving adoption of the technology within the banking app.
“What we’re seeing is that as technology has advanced, voice has become a feasible mechanism for people to interact with technology and technological systems, and we’ve seen an increasing trend with some of the big tech companies with Siri, Cortana – where companies are now investing heavily in voice technology and people are responding to that and starting to use that voice technology,” Metzger said. “Obviously you also [have] to think about the Amazon Echo, which is even taking it to the next stage beyond that.”

Around the world of Digital Banking

Voice technology and beyond, in efforts to engage in an ongoing conversation with customers, several banks rolled out new apps and features over the past month designed to make digital banking faster, easier and simpler for customers, who are increasingly turning to new digital banking options.

TD Bank, for one, rolled out TD MySpend, a real-time money management app that helps customers track their spending habits. Along similar lines, Manufactura Software LLC debuted Easybank, a new personal finance management app, designed to help users monitor their income and spending. Meanwhile, some banks have focused on adding new services and features to existing solutions, like Tangerine Bank, whose mobile app will now include features like eye-scanning technology, voice-activated biometrics and a secure in-app chat.

The May edition of the Digital Banking Tracker™, powered by Urban FT, features the latest news and analysis across the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with also the rankings of 58 players around the industry for their readiness to seize this new banking reality, including 10 new additions to the tracker.

This month’s Tracker also includes updated scoring methodology, which includes evaluations of the specific, individual capabilities and services each provider offers. Each company is now ranked in one of two categories – Business to Consumer and Business to Business – depending on if the provider offers direct bank to customer services or digital banking solutions for banks.

To download the May edition of the Digital Banking Tracker™, click the button below.


About the Tracker

The PYMNTS Digital Banking Tracker™ brings you the latest news, research and expert commentary from the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with the rankings of more than 50 companies serving or powering the digital banking sector.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.

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