Voice activated payments

Siri scores hit for Israel Discount Bank

Israel Discount bank wished to offer a simple, comfortable, and quick P2P money transfer service to its customers, based on voice commands. The simple solution: a digital platform that customers already use on a daily basis - Apple's Siri, reports Douglas Blakey

It’s a first in Israel and one of the first anywhere: Israel Discount Bank has enabled customers to use voice biometrics to initiate payments using Apple’s Siri.

The bank's goal was not only to enhance customer experience and increase engagement levels; the service launch has also served to empower the bank’s digital brand.

Basic mobile-based payment and money transfer services tend to be cumbersome, which potentially reduce user experience and lower engagement. The need to provide many details in order to initiate the payment creates unnecessary friction and turns into an obstacle, lowering customer usage rates in regards to such services.

Discount Bank has avoided such potential pitfalls.

While all other Israeli mobile banking customers must log on to their banking apps in-order to transfer cash to contacts, or make payments, Discount Bank's customers enjoy a wider array of choice.

Customers benefit from a more seamless process by choosing to perform the money transfer via a short & simple voice command to Siri. The result says the bank meets consumer demands for effortless, instant satisfaction.

Launch of the service created a buzz in both the customer environment and within the Israeli professional digital banking industry, hence supporting the build-up of Discount Bank's digital brand as up-to-date and very "voice" orientated.

The use of voice technology within mobile banking has also attracted interest from other banks worldwide, who are also considering similar future implementations. So far, the service has been used by thousands of IDB customers, generating very positive user feedback.


Discount Bank's mobile app allows users to transfer money (in a bank transfer) or transfer cash (via ATM) to any contact person, as long as the person is also a Discount Bank customer. All that is needed in-order to carry out the transaction is the contact person's phone number.

With the new "pre-geared" voice-activated Siri service, the money transfer process is simple and intuitive - the user has to activate Siri via the iPhone, and ask Siri to transfer money to a friend or institution (for example:"Siri, I want to transfer 10$ to Mike"). Siri then asks the user via which application does he want the transfer to be done by, and the user has to choose Discount bank's app.

Siri locates the payee's (recipient) phone number on the iPhone's contact list, and the user is seamlessly transferred to the final stage of the bank's mobile money transfer process. The user is transferred to the bank's mobile app, in-order to login (password or biometric login available) and reconfirm the transaction details before it is completed.

Once launched, in order to increase takeup levels, an introductory pop-up screen was embedded inside the mobile banking app.

Of particular note is the project timelines: the bank managed to initiate the "P2P money transfer via Siri" service within only five months after the project kicked off.

Other notable Siri banking launches include:

OCBC: In February 2018, OCBC became the first bank in Singapore to let its customers use Siri for everyday banking.

OCBC customers can check balances and make instant payments to friend and family via Siri. OCBC had successfully launched a similar Siri service for business customers towards the end of 2017.

ING launched a similar Siri service in January. According to ING, about out one in five of its customers are now using voice assistants such as Siri at least once a day.

In India, ICICI rolled out the country’s first voice-based international remittance service to enable non-resident Indians to send money to any bank in India. Customers can instantly initiate a remittance to existing payees with just a simple voice command to Apple’s virtual voice assistant, Siri, via their iPhone.

In March, HSBC’s First Direct launched a payments service using Siri and avoiding the need for customers to open a banking app or enter a password.

Existing payees and mobile contacts can be paid using Siri subject to a £350 daily limit.