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ING expands voice activation to mobile payments

International bank ING is bringing the banking world into the future with voice-activated payments for users of its application to increase customer convenience and stay on top of cutting-edge technology.

ING customers in the Netherlands now have the option to complete payments via mobile through its voice activation service, Inge. The bank is always looking for options that make banking faster, more optimized and convenient, and its latest mobile venture completes that, following fine-tuning of the service.

“It is an extension of their voice enabled mobile banking application, kind of like using Apple’s Siri or Google NOW to do banking,” said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group, Atlanta, GA. “It could add utility to their voice capability and it could enhance the mobile banking value proposition.

“It also keeps ING positioned as an innovator in banking,” he said. “It is a biometric, so it adds another layer of security, and since it is integrated into the mobile banking app, there is not a lot of behavior change if the customer is already using it.”

Voice activation
The international banking service introduced voice-activation features last year through its Inge service. Customers were originally able to complete simple tasks such as check their balance and transfer money.

After a significant amount of time, the bank was able to improve the service and workout any kinks and issues associated with the new feature. Now fully polished, the app allows users of the Inge voice activation feature to complete mobile payments.

The voice recognition technology acts as password, allowing no one else but the individual customer to access information through voice-activation.

Security is a topic that weighs heavily on consumers’ minds. When it comes to payments it is vital for banking services and retailers to exhibit that their service is secure and consistently update services such as apps with higher security measures.

While mobile payments are becoming more significant in the banking industry, and other new technology is making experiences easier for customers, the multiplatform access opens up the door for greater chances of security breeches. It is important for retailers and financial services experimenting with new technology to focus on secure methods of use.

ING waited to release voice-activated payments into the voice recognition technology for the safety of its customers. It could have been detrimental to the company had the bank released the feature too early and security issues surfaced.

Users can now speak to their smartphones and the app will register their voice as the individual associated with the account. The customer can complete mobile payments, as well as the previous features available through the app.

Future of voice commands
Similarly, Domino’s Pizza’s virtual ordering assistant Dom, lets consumers dictate orders via mobile devices while on-the-go, and reached a half-million orders since its 2014 launch, suggesting that more food brands should consider investing in voice ordering technology (see more).

Also, Executives at Google’s Retail Leadership Summit 2015 discussed the company’s initiatives for building a more frictionless smartphone shopping experience, including rolling out mobile voice search for shopping and a buy button implemented within advertisements (see more).

“I’m not clear on how it works in-store, but if it does work in-store there might be some customer resistance to talking to their device in front of others,” Mr. Peterson said. “And as with any new payment capability, it needs to work well the first time and every time after that if customers are going to replace more tried and true alternatives.

“I think that biometrics and two factor authentication will be a core component of mobile payments going forward, but I am not sure that voice is the easiest and best way to identify an individual on a smart phone,” he said.

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily