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Santander speaks to mobile users with voice recognition app features

The bank launched an update for its mobile app in Britain that lets customers ask it questions regarding their spending, allowing them a better understanding of purchase history without having to search. The update follows a surge in voice-enabled launches in various consumer products and apps.

“Advancements in technology are having a profound affect on user experiences and people’s expectations,” said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. “While voice recognition services have been around for quite some time, with the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning, they have reached a level of maturity where they are no longer a novelty in marketing and customer service but a key, and soon to be expected feature, in the brand experience.

“Employed and deployed properly they can be used to remove friction from the engagement process,” he said.

Santander switching features
Santander is hoping to attract mobile users and streamline its app experience through the addition of voice recognition for its SmartBank mobile app in Britain. The new update now allows users to ask the app questions, such as how much users have spent at different retailers.

The banking app will provide an overview answer to these questions without the user having to look through his or her search history or make calculations. The experience creates a faster, more convenient experience, while providing significant information to help users get a handle on their finances.

The most recent update is a part of the first phase rollout of the voice recognition feature. An expansion will be rolled out within the next few months, equipping the feature with the ability to make payments, set up account alerts and report lost cards.

The experience is similar to Apple’s Siri, a format consumers are comfortable with and knowledgeable of, making the experience more seamless. Santander is hoping to create a secure technology in which the feature only responds to the specific customer’s voice.

SmartBank’s update follows a surge in users on the app, which prompted the bank to focus more on the mobile platform. An increase in artificial intelligence and voice recognition innovations likely led the decision of the new feature, as it is important to stay on top of trends likely to become popular.

Banking on mobile
Similarly, direct bank Tangerine claimed to be the first in Canada to offer a new secure chat feature, enabling customers to conduct banking transactions via chat in real time (see more).

A growing number of millennials believes that giants in the technology industry, such as Google and Apple, will one day overthrow traditional financial institutions’ stronghold on mobile banking thanks to their innovative approaches, according to a Fintonic report (see more).

“Spoken words and commands can unleash massive benefits for a brand,” Mr. Becker said. “People can process transactions faster.

“Brands can learn about the people they serve by processing natural language requests, which in turn can help them capture context and sentiment in ways that were not possible before,” he said. “For Santander, this capability will help it prepare for the rise of the connected individual.”