For quite a while now, voice-based digital assistants have been popular with consumers, but the uptake on voice-assisted banking remains slow. New signs, however, point to renewed interest in voice-based banking. In-car voice-based banking is becoming increasingly popular, more so because mobile technology and digital car systems have become more compatible and are increasingly integrated.
There have been several voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Cortana, and each have almost become part of the everyday lives of millions of people around the world. Ever since then, there has been a broader debate on how these assistants can be used for banking.
Despite the interest shown in voice-based banking services, a majority of bank customers do not, or hesitate to use it. In 2018, a leading journal posed a question about what will jumpstart voice banking. In 2022, the question still remains, although industry trends point to a much higher growth.
One factor for this growth is that US customers are increasingly adopting and using voice assistant technology in growing numbers. According to research by eMarketer, 123.5 million adults will use a voice assistant at least once a month in 2022.
The research firm stated that the number of people using conversational AI tools like voice assistants, is growing fast. This growth is scheduled to continue, even as AI developers decide how to approach privacy and ethical concerns among consumers.
Voice-banking progresses slowly
The popularity of voice-enabled assistants continues to grow, but voice-based banking growth is much slower. While a large majority of users used voice-assistants to control electronics, listen to music and search the Internet, only 9 percent of users with voice-activated devices used them for banking. Within those findings, however, were positive indicators.
But within that research there were positive growth signals.
To begin with, consumers who do actually use voice banking, use it more often, approximately five times in a month. In addition to this, more people report seeing the benefits of voice-banking. In 2019, 51 percent of users reported benefits from voice-banking, compared to 41% in 2017.
New Lease of Life for Digital Voice Banking
There are several more recent indications that digital voice banking is growing in popularity.
In 2021, thirty percent of adults in the US checked their account balances using a smart speaker, according to research by Forrester. This is a significant increase from just 9 percent in 2019. Research by Forrester indicates that bank customers still remain wary of voice assistants, but as banks increasingly incorporate technology into their systems, more customers are starting to use voice assistants to complete routine tasks.
In 2020, US Bank recognized the potential of digital voice-assistants, and launched a smart assistant that works through its mobile app. The voice function can be easily used to transfer funds, make payments, and much more. First Citizen’s Bank in North Carolina noted that there are unique traits to voice banking that could make it more popular with users.
Digital Mood Detector
Digital voice-activated devices will be able to sense irritation in a customers voice, and connect the customer to an agent.
Security is an added benefit to the voice-activated digital banking process, since the voice assistant does not store banking data, and any information is deleted as soon as the customer logs out of a session. Digital voice-banking also provides customers with a better, more personalized banking experience. The ability of the voice-assistant to sense irritation in a customer enables it to immediately connect the customer to an agent for assistance.
A Promising Voice-Banking Scenario: Cars
A possible reason for the slow adoption of voice-banking is its initial relatively limited scope. Many customers were simply not aware that they could check their account balance with their smart devices. However, positive advancements in voice-recognition technology will probably change this perception.
A possible scenario is voice-based financial services in connected cars. The voice assistant in a car could be used to pay for fuel, make a restaurant reservation and other such tasks. Technology has advanced to the stage where people interact with their cars the same way as they would interact with another human being.
The New ‘Mobile’ Banking
In-car voice-based banking represents a big opportunity for financial institutions.
Sunayna Tuteja, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Emerging Technologies, said that in a connected world, it is vital to interact with customers wherever they are – at home, in the office, or on the move. She further added that in-vehicle technology breaks down barriers to accessing financial markets and information.
The future of voice banking will ultimately evolve in a way that adapts to a customer’s changing everyday lifestyle.