First Direct customers can now make voice-activated payments to existing payees or mobile contacts via the Siri tool on their Apple iPhones, without logging into online banking or using their password.
First Direct’s move to voice-activated payments follows the move by Barclays last August to allow its customers (with an Apple device with iOS 10 software or above, with fingerprint technology) to make payments using Apple’s voice-activated assistant, Siri.
Dutch banking group ING Netherlands are widely credited as being the pioneers of this kind of system when, back in 2014, they launched a voice-navigated banking app with a view to enabling biometric voice recognition as a replacement for PINs in the future.
Interface Between The Customer and Paym
In the case of First Direct, the Siri digital assistant acts as an interface between the customer and the Paym mobile payment system.
Paym is the service, launched by the Payments Council, that allows users to send and receive payments directly to a current account using only the mobile number of the account holder.
How Does It Work?
With the First Direct system, users simply tell Siri what amount they would like to pay, and the name of the person that they would like to pay using First Direct. The system then asks for verification using the fingerprint scanner or face ID tool on the payer’s mobile device. It has been reported that the money is then transferred instantly, and First Direct customers can make transfers of up to £350 daily using the new system.
What Will You Need?
Clearly, to use the system you will need to be registered for digital banking with First Direct. You will then need to activate Paym in the First Direct app, and make sure that you are using an iPhone that is capable of fingerprint or facial recognition so that your payments can be verified without a password.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
For businesses, saving time and getting cash quickly into the business are important, and the First Direct system looks as though it is capable of helping both these things to happen. It also offers your business, suppliers, and other stakeholders a convenient way of paying while on the move.
Also, the biometric aspect (fingerprint or facial recognition) is believed to provide greater security than passwords.
Voice-activated assistants have proven popular with users, and it makes sense that they could be linked up with other technologies and systems to deliver greater value, convenience, and time savings. It is likely that other banks will now follow suit, and voice-activated assistants will be linked-up to a whole range of other services in the near future to benefit the business and the customer.