Magazine article American Banker

U.S. Bank Testing Mobile App Voice Commands

Magazine article American Banker

U.S. Bank Testing Mobile App Voice Commands

Article excerpt

Byline: John Adams

U.S. Bancorp has developed voice recognition software that will let customers handle banking tasks by speaking commands into their mobile device.

"I could ask, 'What is my balance?'" and listen to the answer, says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for retail payments solutions at U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bank developed the new voice app with Nuance, which sells mobile voice recognition software called "Nina." U.S. Bank's app understands spoken requests for information on annual percentage rates, cash back on purchases, and fees. Users speak to a microphone icon that appears in a corner of the bank's mobile app.

U.S. Bank is piloting the technology with internal staff, and will enhance the features based on the test results. Other financial institutions, such as USAA, have deployed Nuance's voice technology -- mostly for basic functions at first. The app works similar to Siri, Apple's voice-controlled digital assistant.

U.S. Bank's mobile strategy also involves responsive design, which adjusts application design based on the device that is accessing it. The bank is also determining when to use native apps or Web-based mobile technology for function and content, Venturo says. "A location-based function, for example, may require a native app," he says.

The voice application is one of a number of tech initiatives the Minneapolis-based bank is using to accommodate "omnichannel" functionality. This is a growing trend for mobile apps; it refers to services that can handle a banking or shopping session that begins in one channel, such as the Web, and ends in another channel, such as a mobile app. …

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