OCBC SME customers can get Siri to activate fund transfers, check balances

The OCBC business mobile banking app will roll out a new feature on Monday (Oct 9) that takes advantage of Apple's Siri virtual assistant.
The OCBC business mobile banking app will roll out a new feature on Monday (Oct 9) that takes advantage of Apple's Siri virtual assistant. PHOTO: OCBC BANK

SINGAPORE - OCBC's 120,000 small and medium-sized enterprises e-banking customers will soon be able to speak to their Apple iPhone to activate a fund transfer.

This will be possible with next Monday's (Oct 9) roll-out of a new feature on its OCBC business mobile banking app that takes advantage of Apple's Siri virtual assistant.

They will also be able to speak to their phones that run on Apple's iOS 11 operating system to make account balance enquiries.

For starters, fund transfers via Siri can be made only to business associates with an OCBC account. The voice feature will be extended to transfers to other bank accounts at a later date.

"This launch of voice banking signals the beginning of a new wave of digital services that we will deliver for our business customers," said Mr Linus Goh, OCBC Bank's head of global commercial banking.

"SME business owners are time-starved and constantly on the go," he said, adding that the voice recognition feature will improve the experience of business banking.

Also from Monday (Oct 9), a new feature will allow fund transfers from the OCBC business mobile banking app to be made to other bank accounts via the Fast online interbank funds transfer system.

OCBC holds the lion's share of the SME business bank accounts in Singapore.

Its consumer banking customers have been able to instruct Siri to send money to a person in their contact list since October last year.

For instance, users say "pay John Tan $50". The user will be guided to complete the transfer using the OCBC Pay Anyone feature in the OCBC mobile banking app. And the recipient does not need to be an OCBC account holder.

For business customers, however, the process is slightly different. For instance, the business user needs to tell Siri to "transfer $200 from my business account" or "check my account balance". He will be prompted to verify the request with his fingerprint on the phone.

For fund transfers, the user will then be guided to confirm the paying account and select the payee from a list. An SMS one-time password must also be entered to complete the transfer.

The volume of e-payments among OCBC business accounts grew 33 per cent from July 2015 to July this year, according to the bank. The number of enquiries to check business account balances via the OCBC business mobile banking app has also more than doubled since June last year.

Said Ms Gwendoline Tan, pastry chef and owner of boutique patisserie Salt & Delight: "This is a practical feature... it integrates banking seamlessly into my life. I think such innovations are needed for more business owners to start using e-payments."