NatWest trials Google voice tech

Joanna Estrada
August 12, 2019

NatWest also say they are aware of potential consumer concerns about having their banking information broadcast across a room containing a voice-activated speaker.

Customers can ask eight different questions, including what their current bank balance is and what their recent transactions were. A partial voice PIN will be set up for security and any customers unable to get an answer from Google Assistant will receive a text message with contact details of NatWest's customer helpline.

Voice banking will have you ask your smart speaker something about your bank account, and rather than just giving out the info willy nilly - which you don't want - you'll be prompted to cough up your password digits, and then asked a few other questions so that is can figure out what you want.

NatWest is seeing whether banking with the spoken word could follow the same path to the mainstream as mobile banking.

According to a recent Ofcom report, one in five households in the United Kingdom now own a smart speaker, such as the Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod - an increase of 7% from 2018.

Because recent reports have suggested that voice recognition alone could be an unreliable form of authentication, users will additionally need to authenticate by barking out two digits from a six-digit code, provided exclusively for voice assistant banking.

Voice banking allows users to multi-task and the more human interface could encourage customers to bank in a new way.

There are also advantages for blind customers making it easier to complete tasks without the use of a screen or keyboard. This technology will make it easier for people to bank with us and could bring particular benefits to those who have a disability as voice banking eliminates the need for customers to use a screen or keyboard.

Georgina Bulkeley, director of strategy and innovation at NatWest, added: "We're committed to creating effortless customer experiences - and the adoption of new technologies by our customers provides fantastic opportunities for us to do that".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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