Would you trust Apple’s virtual assistant to transfer your money? No Siri.

Mashreq has teamed up with Apple's Siri to allow customers to make money transfers of up to Dh500 via the digital assistant.

Mashreq is the first bank in the UAE to team up with Apple’s Siri for voice-powered payments. Mandy Cheng / AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The UAE bank that has decided to use Siri as a payment method has missed the point about what we want from our banks.

I’m sure most of you know what Siri is. If you don’t, it’s Apple’s virtual assistant offered on iPads and iPhones, allowing you to ask your phone a question verbally and get a voice response. Siri can be a she or a he, depending on the personality you choose, and it can be a rather fun.

That is it’s fun for the first 20 minutes once you’ve discovered it and then you realise much like popcorn makers, bread machines and all those attachments that go on a food processor – it is never going to be used more than once.

Well, Mashreq thinks it can get you to use Siri a little more often.

It is the first bank in the UAE to team up with Apple’s Siri for voice-powered payments.

I know huge improvements have been made with voice technology, but I’m not sure I would trust myself or the technology to sort the often convoluted machinations of my banking.

Banking is a personal, private matter that most people prefer to handle in seclusion. Therefore the idea of stating your personal bank details OUT LOUD to a phone seems jarring. That is before one begins to question the technology and the fairly obvious problems that may occur when Siri has to begin deciphering the human range of accents.

I, like many people, have a distinctive accent and considering I can often be misunderstood when standing talking to somebody with excellent hearing, cognisance and a knowledge of my accent – I’m not sure Siri is up to the task of deciphering my commands.

Mashreq’s new mobile banking feature allows customers to transfer payments by telling Siri how much they want to send and to who. They can then confirm the transaction using either their PIN or touch identification.

First-time users will need to download the new iOS10 update and register for voice banking services. They will then receive a one-time password (OTP) to confirm the registration and start using the service.

I think this is a gimmick to show the bank is down with the kids and ahead of the curve – but, call me old-fashioned, but some curves need to be stuck to.

The new feature only allows transfers to be sent to registered contacts in the phone and the limits are low keeping it anywhere from Dh1 to Dh500.

Best of luck with that, but unless I lose my hands changing the attachments on my food processor I will stick to phone, internet and personal banking.


Follow us on Twitter @TheNationalPF