UK’s popular bank NatWest has come up with its new voice banking feature. What is it all about?
NatWest has partnered with Google Home to deliver this product.
This new system will allow customers to access banking information via personal smart speakers. Users can use this virtual assistant from the comfort of their homes. Users will ask the device questions about their transaction or account information. The speaker will respond vocally. The speaker will also send the answer to a connected smartphone.
Telephone and mobile banking have already been dominating, improving customer satisfaction. The voice access banking feature opens still more accessibility options for customers. NatWest believes this technology will create a stir in banking that has not been seen since the advent of mobile phone banking.
Sean Durkin, Head of Enterprise, UK and Ireland at software company OpenText remarks, “As the first major high street bank to offer this, Natwest provides us with another example of a company tapping into innovative technologies, such as voice technology and artificial intelligence, to deliver the fastest and most friction-free customer experience possible.”
Kristen Bennie, head of 'Open Experience' at NatWest, said: "We are exploring voice banking for the first time and think it could mark the beginning of a major change to how customers manage their finances in the same way mobile banking made a huge impact.”
A trial version will be launched first, involving 500 customers and running for three months. This version will allow asking information on basic account operations. If the feature works successfully, NatWest is aiming to shift more transactions to this system such as paying bills and money transfers.
A banking software testing company would consider NatWest’s approach of a slow entry is good from the perspective of security. If the software has not been tested sufficiently, it should not be released to the public. Plus, if too many features are launched all at once, users may find the transition to be complex. A banking software testing company would check the software feature for performance, usability, functionality, stress, security, integration and compatibility on various platforms.
Experts have raised security concerns. For example, recordings on Google Assistant are accessible. If these recordings are stolen by cybercriminals, the voice may be used for carrying out fraudulent activities. Also, during voice inputting, customers speak part of their private protected pin out loudly. As the account information is heard across the room, other people in the area will listen to the user’s confidential transactions. These flaws open the doors to unauthorized access. If private and confidential information is hacked, the feature would appear unreliable and fail to please customers.
Brett Beranek, Vice President and General Manager of Nuance Communications supports the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in improving software security. He comments, “To safeguard users’ personal data, especially when using their voices to access services, banks should deploy voice biometrics – a technology that instead of storing knowledge credentials, such as passwords, stores biometric characteristics to authenticate a user – vastly reducing the possibility of a security breach in which such credentials are lost.”