This new slant on home banking — using smart speakers such as Google Home or Amazon’s Echo — is among a range of technological advances about to change the way we manage money.
Financial institutions have been examining the potential use of smart speakers, also known as home assistants, for insurance and banking. However, privacy problems such as reports of family discussions being recorded and Facebook’s recent data collection scandal are likely to slow its development and take-up.
Other financial technology is accelerating, including biometrics, wearables such as smart watches and payment rings, and artificial intelligence. Here’s where the new tech stands today.
People’s Choice Credit Union, which invests heavily in technology that helps its members, says machine learning and artificial intelligence will soon be taken for granted by customers.
AI systems would not take over decision making but would help us better manage money, said People’s Choice spokesman Stuart Symons. Some apps already round up transactions and transfer money to investments and AI systems will enhance this.
“They will likely learn that you want to round off transactions unless it is a Thursday before payday, and only if there are no big social events within the next week,” he said.
Fingerprint sensors were now commonplace and facial recognition was quickly gathering pace, Mr Symons said.
Voice authentication technology has been used by the Australian Taxation Office for four years. A spokesman said taxpayers who telephoned the ATO were offered to have their voiceprint recorded and used for future contacts, saving an average 45 seconds per call.
“Biometrics, including voice, are something you are and therefore not able to be easily replicated or easily stolen,” he said.
“More than 3.6 million clients have enrolled their voiceprint with the ATO, and on current projections we expect this figure to exceed four million by the end of 2018.”
Suncorp says advances such as wearables and connected devices are helping customer expectations evolve quickly, but privacy and security needs to come first during the design stage.
Suncorp’s executive general manager of digital distribution, Tony Wessling, said home assistants and wearable technology were a “new frontier” in financial services.
“All of us will be interacting with home assistants for banking and insurance services, without a doubt,” he said.
Mr Symons said people could already set up apps and tools to let them know by text message or voicemail after specific transactions or when their balance hit a certain level.
“But authorising an actual transaction through a home assistant will have to wait until security issues are resolved and improved,” he said.
“Technology is developing extremely rapidly. We may once have thought that two years was medium term, but rapid change is now taking place within that time frame.”