Wells Fargo will combine voice recognition, AI for conversational handsfree banking

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By marrying artificial intelligence with secure voice biometric identification, banking behemoth Wells Fargo hopes it will be able to make transferring money to a friend as simple as talking to Siri.

Wells Fargo is hard at work on a voice-driven payments system, and the head of the bank’s innovation group, Steve Ellis, revealed to DigiDay that the capabilities could become available to consumers and employees alike in the near future. While some banks currently use voice for information exchange, Ellis said Wells Fargo plans to leapfrog them and allow transfer of funds via voice commands.

With biometric authentication technology, Wells Fargo and other banks and services could recognize a user’s unique voice, allowing for unparalleled convenience in finance while also remaining secure.

Until now, banks have been reluctant to offer the ability to transfer funds via voice, and instead offer basic information such as the current account balance.

Beyond transferring funds, Wells Fargo believes the combination of artificial intelligence and a voice-driven personal assistant will eventually allow for personalized financial advice.

Of course, a key element in pushing forward with capabilities is security, which is why voice recognition and biometrics will play a key role in any institution’s handsfree efforts.

Late last year, Visa announced it plans to combine multiple biometric identifiers to finally kill traditional passwords. In Visa’s view, fingerprint scans, voice recognition, iris scans and other methods can be used to replace both primary and backup methods of accessing an account, ending the need for passwords or PIN numbers.