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Santander Rolls Out 'Pay-by-voice' Banking

Santander has extended its voice-assisted banking capabilities to become the first UK high street lender to allow customers to make account payments using their voice.

The new trial will be open to iOS SmartBank app users and also allows users to report a lost card, although it will only allow voice-assisted payments to existing payees.

It follows the first phase of the project in March last year, which allowed customers to check their balance and spending by speaking to the app.

Santander claimed that the new service would be particularly useful for vulnerable customers who find speaking easier than typing and using online banking.

“Appetite for simple, intuitive banking solutions has grown significantly in recent years,” argued Santander head of technology innovation, Ed Metzger.

“This pioneering technology has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience, playing a transformational role in the industry and redefining how customers choose to manage their money.”

The lender said it’s different from voice biometrics used to authenticate users when logging in to accounts, although it did brand the service as “secure and simple to use.”

The technology – powered by Nuance Communications – will therefore certainly help to further validate the use of voice recognition in the banking sector and beyond.

Paul Briault, director of digital security and API management at CA Technologies, argued that all banks are “wrestling with the convenience versus risk conundrum.”

“Following Santander’s news today, there will be pressure for more banks to rely on newer biometrics such as voice in order to address this issue,” he added.

“However, as most banks travel through their digital transformation journey, they are constantly faced with the same challenge – streamlining processes for their customers and making things easier, whilst also ensuring their service is as secure and safe as possible.”

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