Westpac Gives Android Users Two Finger Salute As They Chase Apple ‘Millennials
Westpac has snubbed millions of Android smartphone owners by getting into bed with Apple and their poor performing Siri voice activation system in an effort to win over ‘Millennial’ customers with a new voice transfer banking service that will only work with select Apple iPhones.
Westpac’s chief executive of consumer banking, George Frazis, says “conversational banking” is the future after announcing that the bank is investing in voice activated transactions using Apple iPhone’s digital assistant, Siri as opposed to the Android platform and Google’s highly popular voice activation platform.
Frazis claimed “If you look at smart phone users, about half of them now are using voice assistants, so you can see that this trend is just going to increase.”
However, research shows that there are significantly more Android smartphones in use in Australia and that Google’s Assistant is significantly more popular than Siri.
With the new service the bank will allow customers to check their account balance and move money to other people’s accounts using Apple iPhone’s digital assistant, Siri.
The change will remove the need to have any physical contact with a phone – such as providing a fingerprint – to make a transaction.
What Westpac has not considered is that while Siri is locked to Apple’s ecosystem, Google Assistant can be used on both Android and iOS devices. The experience is slightly watered down on iOS as the platform does not allow users to change the default assistant.
Westpac who are well known for their poor customer service and who like to position themselves as a “premium” bank appear to be a big fan of Apple and their Apple Pay network as opposed to delivering services to the more popular Android platform.
Last year the Bank did announce a partnership with Samsung Electronics Australia to offer another mobile payment option to millions of Westpac Mastercard and VISA debit and credit cardholders.
Samsung Pay is now available at thousands of retail outlets across Australia wherever NFC (Near Field Communication) payments are accepted and is a secure and easy-to-use mobile payments service 1.
What Westpac is trying to do is target millennials in particular at the expense of the wider community who tend to buy Android based smartphones.
Frazis, claims the move was a response to the surge in smart phone banking. Four-fifths of the bank’s digital transactions now took place through mobiles, he said, predicting “conversational banking” would also take off.
“The future of banking is conversational banking,” Mr Frazis said. “If you look at smart phone users, about half of them now are using voice assistants, so you can see that this trend is just going to increase.”
Westpac says its change will allow customers with a sufficiently advanced iPhone to move money by saying a command such as “Hey Siri, pay John Citizen $20 for dinner”.
The phone’s “assistant” will then confirm the payment and ask the customer to prove their identity by allowing the phone to take a finger print or a face scan before the cash is transferred.
The bank says moving money in this way is more secure than entering a password on a phone because the newer methods use “biometric” information to verify a customer’s identity. To use this feature, the iPhone will need to be running Apple’s operating system iOS11 or a more recent version.