Banking giant Wells Fargo has begun testing a new mobile app that features voice recognition technology. With voice recognition set to become an integral way in which users interact with their smartphones, Wells Fargo is reportedly not the only bank interested in the technology.

Breaking New Ground

Voice recognition is not new to the mobile sphere, with Apple pioneering the technology through the popular Siri voice-command feature. However, Wells Fargo plans on integrating voice recognition in such a way that it “breaks ground” on how people interact with their smartphones, according to The Charlotte Observer. “It’s not about navigation. It’s not about replacing clicks. The click or the tap is always going to be more efficient than using voice. This is about bringing … powerful interaction,” said Brian Pearce, head of mobile technology at Wells Fargo.

The difference in the new mobile app under development at Wells Fargo is that users have the ability to get details of complex banking data in answer to a simple question. For example, with a standard banking app, finding out how much a user spent in the previous month on groceries would require a lot of sifting through selections and drop-down menus to drill down to the desired information. Instead, Wells Fargo is using voice recognition technology to allow customers to simply ask the app, “How much did I spend at the grocery store last month?” The app will make the calculations and assemble the data itself.

Wells Fargo conducted tests with the new app using a group of employees and their real accounts and is reportedly now making final adjustments on the mobile app before rolling it out to customers, including the 12 million who use the existing Wells Fargo banking app. Bank of America and U.S. Bank, as well as insurers USAA and GEICO, are also working on integrating voice recognition into their mobile apps.

Future of Banking Apps

As reported in The Charlotte Observer, Javelin Strategy and Research Mobile Director Mary Monahan expects that mobile apps will become central to financial institutions, as more and more customers start to use smartphones for transactions. There is also room for voice recognition technology to enable these apps to help customers resolve complex problems or questions, ideally cutting down on the number of calls to customer support, saving banks money, and making it easier for customers to find the information they need.

Voice recognition could also supplement security tools in the future, facilitating an authentication process similar to those of the fingerprint readers and retinal scanners included on products such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Customers may see some of these features used more often as banks strive for efficient and affordable customer service and security options.

Would you find voice recognition useful with your banking app?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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