Desjardins expands its voice services

The financial co-op now allows clients to check account balances and recent transactions with Google Assistant.

Desjardins is the latest company to extend its reach into voice platforms, allowing its clients to access their financial information through Google Assistant.

Users will be able to get their chequing account or credit card balance, as well as the details of their most recent transactions with only a voice command, after providing a four-digit access code for security. The function works on any device that is running Google Assistant, such as Google Home and certain Android mobile devices.

Many of Canada’s banks and financial institutions have been attempting to reach the growing audience using voice platforms since Google Home and Amazon Alexa launched in Canada last year. However, early efforts offered users less-personalized information, such as nearby branch locations, stock quotes and exchange rates. Central 1 Credit Union was the first in Canada to actually allow clients to perform financial transactions through a voice platform with the launch of its Alexa skill last year, largely because it was able to build a higher degree of security and authentication into the skill. Aside from security and regulatory concerns, many banks were also taking a “test-and-learn” approach, keeping their initial forays into voice simple as they determined if consumers would be comfortable receiving sensitive information and performing private tasks over voice platforms.

“This is a recent development, not needing a keyboard to interact with your devices,” said Guy Cormier, president and CEO of Desjardins Group. “We’re very proud of what our teams have achieved with this feature, which we can now build on to create a whole range of new services.”

Desjardins is not, as of yet, allowing clients to perform transactions through Google Assistant. But Cormier points out that Desjardins is among the first banks to offer functions that are this advanced, part of a strategy to give clients more ways to interact with the co-op, as well as more solutions as part of an ongoing digital shift.

While Canada’s banks are slowly picking up the pace on the features they add to voice platform, they have been bringing more features to other forms of conversational technology as well. For example, in January, TD launched an AI-powered chatbot within its mobile app that can analyze a client’s spending history, giving them insights to their spending habits or providing reminders for when a bill payment is due.