Technology is changing the way we manage our money

Google Home Mini

Image source: PA Media

Banking on your voice could become the new way to check accounts if a NatWest trial using the Google Assistant proves to be right on the money. The bank is launching a trial using the voice-powered virtual helper, allowing customers to ask the Google Home smart speaker for details such as their bank balance or recent spending.

Users will have to say a partial voice pin to confirm their identity when using the feature. NatWest is seeing whether banking with the spoken word could follow the same path to the mainstream as mobile banking. It is also hoping to be a useful tool for blind customers.

The initial pilot – which will be tested with 500 people for three months – will respond verbally to eight questions as well as providing access to more than 15 banking tips, with the potential for more if the trial is successful.

This technology will make it easier for people to bank with us and could bring particular benefits to those who have a disability, as voice banking eliminates the need for customers to use a screen or keyboard. This is one of a number of services that the bank is aiming to develop this year that uses cutting edge, innovative technology to better serve our customers.

Kristen Bennie, Head of NatWest’s Open Experience digital innovation centre (Source PA: Media)

According to a recent Ofcom report, one in five households in the UK now own a smart speaker, such as the Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod – an increase of 7% from 2018. It found almost seven in ten use a smart speaker to listen to music via a streaming service – making it the most common use of smart speakers – while little over half listen to live radio and a fifth to podcasts. Google Assistant is also available on smartphones, meaning users can ask for information about their finances in the same way, but details will appear on screen too.

In our recent study of innovations in the home we found that more than two in five Brits own some form of smart technology and with advances in technology occurring more frequently, we can’t help but imagine how we will be living and interacting with technology in the next 10 or 20 years. Will we be sleeping in dream pods, or be taking short holidays into outer space?

At MPA we are excited about innovation and the future of innovation in the UK. With government incentives such as R&D tax credits and Patent Box, we are committed to supporting businesses who are making advancements in technology.

If you are testing a new process or developing a new product, then you could be eligible for these schemes. Check your eligibility or get in touch and speak to one of our technical experts to see if you could benefit.