Voice recognition technology has advanced significantly in the past few years. It is nearly ubiquitous now. Most smartphones have voice recognition ‘built in.’ Even my car can recognize simple spoken commands which makes entering addresses in the navigation unit much, much easier. How soon will it be before my mobile banking app can do the same?

For most of us, the spoken word is the most universal and transparent of all interfaces. We don’t need to be trained on how to input our actions, we just speak them. Is this the next form of entry for executing our desired banking actions? Probably so, I believe. It would be so convenient to say, ” Hey Siri, show me check #1435. Or, “Alexa, I need to pay my light bill.” Siri is Apple’s voice technology. Alexa is Amazon’s similar service that operates on their Echo device. Windows has Cortana.

To be sure, there are many more security issues to be considered when executing a bill payment transaction via voice technology than there are with speaking destination addresses in to my car’s navigation system. I have no doubt those issues will be worked out – in fact, Capital One already has. The Capital One Skill Service for Amazon Alexa will allow customers to manage their accounts through the spoken word. (See link below for Capital One Skill for Amazon Alexa.) It can check your bank balance, pay your bills, and track your spending. I expect that we will see more of this service from other financial institutions soon.

This service is essentially a chatbot that has voice recognition abilities. A chatbot? What is a chatbot? A chatbot is a computer program that is able to respond intelligently to text, or spoken commands. It is like your voice response service, but many times more powerful. It is thought that chatbots will have a significant role in automating bank call centers.

There are fintech developments that are accelerating the capabilities of chatbots. One such alternative is the My Kai service from Kasisto. Kasisto is a spin off venture from SRI International and is built using technology from SRI International. SRI is the same group that developed what is now Apple’s Siri service. Kasisto has developed My Kai, an interface with a messaging app for Facebook and SMS, which they promote as “smart, secure and simple.” My Kai helps customers to manage their money, track expenses, and make payments. (See the link below for the My Kai demonstration.)

Sooner or later, this technology is going to appear in banks’ smartphone apps. Could that service provide account openings? Why not? Personally, I can’t wait for lawn mowers to have this ability, too. I will be among the first to say, “Hey Toro, mow my yard!”

Capital One Skill for Amazon AlexaMy Kai from Kasisto Demonstration