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Santander’s voice app becomes first to allow customers to move money with speech. Biometric authentication could eliminate the need for complicated passwords, relying instead on voice, eye and face recognition.

Santander’s SmartBank app now allows account holders to use voice commands to check their balance, as well as authorise payments to existing payees. Although other banks have previously introduced voice biometrics as a means of logging into their account, Santander is the first bank in the UK to use it to carry out actions on a bank account. One of the features includes the ability to report a stolen card.

Ed Metzger, Head of Technology Innovation at Santander, commented:

“The worlds of technology and banking continue to evolve at pace, working hand in hand to deliver a friction-free user experience. We are excited to be the first UK high street bank to enable customers to make payments using just their voice, offering them another channel of choice in how they wish to bank.

Appetite for simple, intuitive banking solutions has grown significantly in recent years. 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.”

A survey by US cyber security firm, SecureAuth, earlier this year showed that nearly half of UK firms were intending to deploy biometric authentication within the next five years. Self-authentication logins will have the aim to prevent online fraud, and the frustration of a forgotten password as a thing of the past for online bankers.

Voice assistant banking can also be a useful tool for vulnerable customers who prefer to bank from home and find speaking easier than typing or using online banking. Voice assistant complements Santander’s approach to intelligent technology developed and supported by the bank.

Below are the highlights of Santander’s SmartBank app using voice for online payments:

  • Secure and simple to use, customers can now make payments using their voice, check their account balance, report a lost card and ask about their speed within a particular time period
  • The technology differs from voice biometrics, which enables access to customer accounts by using voice as a password
  • The new technology has initially been released to iOS SmartBank app users, as a customer pilot

Read more about Santander’s voice banking app in Sky News, the Daily Express and Global Banking & Finance Review.