NatWest first UK high street bank to trial ‘voice banking’, but is it safe?

1 min Read Published: 12 Aug 2019

NatWest trials voice banking

NatWest has announced that it will trial voice banking with 500 of its customers. The 3-month trial enables Natwest Customers to carry out a variety of simple banking tasks using Google Assistant via an enabled Google Home device.

Customers will be able to ask the device up to 8 simple questions including "What is my balance?" and "What are my latest transactions?"

The Google smart speaker will then respond to the questions as well as flash the answer on the user's smartphone. Although the initial voice banking experience is fairly basic, the future of banking could see bank transfers and payments being made using verbal commands.

Kristen Bennie, head of Open Experience at NatWest, said: “We are exploring voice banking for the first time and think it could mark the beginning of a major change to how customers manage their finances in the same way mobile banking made a huge impact.”

Is NatWest voice banking safe?

The security of voice speakers was recently brought into question after it was leaked that workers could listen in on people’s conversations and with this in mind, is voice banking safe to use?

NatWest has advised that consumers will only be able to access their bank details by giving 2 numbers from a 4 digit pin. This pin is exclusively issued for 'voice banking' and is different from the card's pin. The voice banking pin can only be set up via online banking and Google will not store any of these details, or any other details held securely within the Natwest Online banking app.

The advantages of NatWest voice banking

Voice banking is designed to allow consumers to multi-task whilst carry out basic banking functions such as finding out recent transactions and balances.

The introduction of voice banking could see personal banking becoming more inclusive to those with disabilities, meaning they can access account information, without the need for a screen or keyboard.

NatWest is clearly the front runner when it comes to rivalling the challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling Bank. Voice banking seems a step in the right direction and with over 9 million Google and Amazon smart home devices already a feature in UK homes, could this be the way we all bank in the future?