Hey Siri, transfer money: OCBC introduces voice commands for business transactions

OCBC'S business customers will soon be able to conduct fund transfers and check their account balances, all without lifting a finger.

Starting Oct 9, over 120,000 Singapore-registered users of OCBC's Internet business banking portal Velocity@ocbc can use their iPhones' smart assistant Siri to perform banking transactions.

The bank's customers can tell Siri whom to send payment to, or ask to check their account balance just by speaking to their phones.

Authentication of the transactions will be performed with the device's built-in fingerprint scanner and one time passwords (OTP). The service will be available only to users who have updated to iOS 11, Apple's latest mobile operating system.

The bank did not say if a version for Android is forthcoming.

"We are pleased to be leading the charge in Asia in introducing voice banking to our business customers. SME business owners are time-starved and constantly on the go, and we believe these innovative solutions based on voice recognition technology will vastly improve the way in which our customers manage their everyday business banking needs," said Linus Goh, OCBC's head of global commercial banking.

Praveen Raina, OCBC's senior vice-president of group operations and technology, said that voice recognition is the first step to pushing SMEs to go cashless.

"Voice recognition technology is integral to this, and it is easy to envision the use of Siri to make e-payments, or to check account balances, becoming second nature to business owners," he said.

Making e-banking more intuitive and integrating it seamlessly for their business customers is key to improving e-payment adoption rates, he added.