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USAA spotlights in-app voice commands, streamlining mobile deposits

Financial services brand USAA has rolled out a new feature within its mobile application enabling consumers to leverage voice commands to complete tasks such as depositing a check and transferring funds, a tool that will be beneficial for visually impaired users.

USAA’s mobile app, which lets on-the-go users manage their investments, finances and insurance, implemented voice-guided features during its latest update. With a large portion of the company’s customers consisting of military members, some of whom are visually impaired, the new app iteration will likely streamline banking processes even more and enable assistance-free usage for completing basic tasks.

“USAA adding a mobile banking app feature that implements voice control tools for visually impaired users is a brilliant tool set for the military users of this bank,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “USAA has almost 12 million users worldwide, and if this technology works well, I am sure that others will figure out how to integrate [similar features] into their mobile banking apps.

“These types of uses of technology make sense for any company doing business in mobile banking, as long as the accuracy and user experience is vetted out as positive and helpful.”

Constant mobile innovation
Consumers wanting to take advantage of the new voice command feature can download the USAA mobile app for their iOS or Android devices, or update the app to the latest version.

Individuals with visual impairments can leverage the voice commands to receive guidance while completing standard banking tasks, such as notifying USAA of travel plans, accessing account balances and transferring funds.

Additionally, users will be able to access a voice-guided deposit tool that will instruct them on how to position their smartphones to capture the most optimal photo of a check.

This will enable individuals to skip visiting a bank branch to deposit checks in lieu of completing the task on their mobile devices. These consumers will also not need to request assistance from anyone, enabling them to become more self-sufficient when undertaking routine banking errands.

To use the new tool, consumers can either enter or say a keyword or question. They may also tap on the list of frequently asked questions, which include inquiries such as, “What is USAA’s transit routing number?” and “I want to deposit checks using my phone.”

Mobile banking evolution
USAA is well-positioned to organically grow its customer base with the introduction of the voice command tools. Military members who have become visually impaired while on active duty may opt to open a checking account with USAA instead of a competing financial institution.

The rapidly evolving banking sector has demonstrated why financial marketers must stay up-to-date with the latest mobile technologies in order to stay afloat in the competitive sector.

While the five largest banks in the United States continue to race forward in mobile banking, including all offering pre-login account balance information, Bank of America has pulled far ahead in product research and cross-selling on mobile, according to a new report from Forrester Research (see story).

Meanwhile, other financial institutions are ensuring their newest products come equipped with mobile-friendly features.

For example, Wells Fargo recently launched a new Visa credit card that focuses on cash rewards and includes a mobile-enabled online banking feature for on-the-go account management, driving purchases and credit card use (see story).

Following USAA’s new app update, financial services companies could opt to roll out voice commands within their own mobile apps to also cater to visually impaired consumers.

“In researching other features that mobile banking apps should roll out this year, banks should take note of the process used by USAA in engaging their employees, who in most cases are using their apps daily, to ensure they are gaining the insights from their best focus group,” Ms. Troutman said.