Asian banking took a big step, as OCBC Bank of Singapore became the first financial institution in the Asia Pacific region to accept payments via Siri. The bank revealed that customers can now make payments by giving commands to Apple’s voice-activated software. OCBC Bank allows customers with the latest version of their mobile banking app, process payments without having to login to their account directly or leave whatever page they are on. The OCBC Pay Anyone e-payment service will also work the iMessage, Apple’s instant messaging service. The bank’s head of e-business in Singapore Aditya Gupta, said at the unveiling “customers now prefer their banking to be embedded in other things they do, rather than having to start their interaction journey from a bank’s platform”.
The only caveat for the service is customers must be using an Apple device with iOS10 installed. OCBC is not the only bank offering the service however, and Apple believes it is only a matter of time before other banks in the region catch on. In Europe, German digital bank N26 (formerly Number26) became the first bank in its country to allow payments over Siri. Customers can not only pay, but request for funds from other customers in the same bank, via iMessage. The boost in attention for the smartphone maker comes as Apple launched SiriKit for developers. Apple is giving companies the opportunity to integrate Siri into their mechanics, while also working internally to improve their payment-integration facilities. The main draw, at the moment, is to enable customers make payments without having to open any apps.