ING allows Siri to check customers’ bank balances

REQUESTING your bank balance from your smartphone’s virtual assistant is the newest way customers can check in on their financial status.

Using voice biometrics, financial institution ING has launched the latest technological advance for smartphone consumers, allowing iOS Apple device users to converse with their bank in a matter of seconds and be able to get the status of their personal finances.

It doesn’t even require customers to enter a PIN or log into the banking app to do so, all they have to do is ask Siri the simple question, “what’s my bank balance?”

The newest feature from ING — which has more than 1.2 million customers nationally — is the first of many more voice-activation services set to become available to customers.

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All the hard work is done by a virtual assistant and it’s expected to extend to customers being able to make bank transfers or bill payments.

ING’s head of digital innovation Chris Barwick said the technology is a milestone for consumers as it brings them closer to making voice-activated transactional banking a reality.

“All customers have to do is to ask what is their balance or how much do I have in my Orange Everyday (transaction) account,’’ he said.

“It will display on the screen the balances of the accounts that the customer has asked for.”

New research compiled by Nielsen on behalf of ING found about one in five customers are now using voice assistants such as Siri at least once a day.

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And a majority of ING customers (69 per cent) said they would be likely to use these types of voice-activated services to perform their daily banking tasks as they become available.

Strategic relations firm RFi’s lead consultant Alex Boorman said biometrics was becoming more popular among financial institutions as customers demand these advanced types of technology.

“There’s a move to use various different types of biometrics in financial services from fingerprints, to voice activation, to iris scans,’’ he said.

“We are seeing more customers logging into apps using fingerprints and it’s about making it easy for customers to access their banking.”

Voice biometrics is incredibly advanced and doesn’t just take in a person’s voice it also takes in the way they speak, Mr Boorman said.

And when it comes to security, customers initially have to go into the bank’s latest app, have the newest iOS version on their smartphone and approve the specific accounts they would like to be included on their balance check before they can use the voice activation service.

@sophieelsworth

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