Central 1 Launches Canada’s First Voice Banking Service

Banking in Canada is now as easier than ever thanks to a new feature from a leading credit union.

Central 1 has announced the launch of Canada’s first-ever authenticated voice banking service. The new feature will operate through Amazon’s Alexa and allow customers to make payments, send money, transfer money between accounts, and get a better understanding of their financial situation, all through voice requests. In addition to being easier to use than typical web or app interfaces, voice banking can help those who are visually-impaired, unable to leave their homes or those who cannot use keyboards or smartphones.

Right now, the Alexa services are being piloted to certain customers of Central 1 clients, Innovation and Conexus Credit Unions. The plan is to release the technology to all customers later this year in the fall. Central 1 has over $19.5 billion in assets and works with over 3.4 million Canadian clients.

Central 1 has made sure to use human-like interactions for the voice services, and AI and machine learning will continue to improve the experience as more users interact with Alexa. Development of the platform was done with San Francisco’s Point One Digital, a design agency that specializes in conversational user interface strategies.

“We’re committed to providing our clients with top of the line, cutting edge technology and services,” said Mark Blucher, president and CEO of Central 1. “As an organization at the forefront of fintech innovation in Canada we’re thrilled to showcase our authenticated voice banking solution that, as we continue to provide the technology to more clients, will add ease and accessibility to the banking experience.”

In a demo of the platform, a Central 1 web developer is able to pay a bill by simply naming the payee and stating how much they would like to pay down. They also transfer money between different accounts. Alexa can even give financial advice, such as telling a user to set up automatic savings transfers.

“At Conexus we are passionate about providing solutions that make a meaningful difference for our members. Banking is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do and this new authenticated voice banking solution, is just that – access anytime and anywhere your Amazon Alexa goes,” said Jeremy Trask, chief digital officer of Conexus Credit Union. “Partnering with Central 1 means we’re able to ensure our member are getting game-changing technology and services that improve banking experiences while never compromising security.”

Central 1 chose Amazon and Alexa due in part to the platform’s high level of security measures and authentication, such as OAuth and voice biometrics security.