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Tangerine adds Nuance virtual assistant, biometrics to mobile banking app in Canada


Nuance Communications has teamed up with Canadian bank Tangerine to launch a new banking app that includes voice banking, a virtual assistant experience and an option for Touch ID users to use fingerprint authentication.

As of yet, voice biometric authentication is not an option for users of this app, but the company plans to rollout this technology from Nuance “later this year.”

Named Nina, Nuance’s voice assistant platform is used widely throughout the mobile space.

“We have a long history of delivering simple and innovative solutions for our clients and we’re proud to be the first Canadian bank to introduce biometric technology,” Peter Aceto, president and CEO of Tangerine said. “We recognize that Canadians want more control over their banking experience, and our goal is to provide them with the ability to bank where they want, how they want and when they want.”

Following Tangerine’s launch of the new banking app in Toronto on October 1, I had a chance to sit down with Brett Beranek, Senior Principal Solutions Marketing Manager at Nuance, and Erica Hill, the company’s Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, to talk about the new app and the technology behind the virtual assistant and voice biometric authentication.

According to Beranek, the user experience is conversational and evolves the more users interact with it.

The app is capable of straight-forward tasks like paying bills and transferring money, but it also identifies patterns in user behavior to make suggestions and simplify account organization.

“How much did I spend last month at my favorite restaurant?,” Beranek uses as an example of the kind of interaction users can have with the app.

“All of a sudden, that’s value that you couldn’t have gotten from a website, a branch or from a contact center,” Beranek said. “If you called a contact center and said ‘how much did I spend last month at my favorite restaurant?,’ they’d be like ‘… excuse me?’”

According to Beranek, many of Nuance’s customers that integrate a voice assistant also opt to include voice biometric authentication.

“[Tangerine’s] development team is really fantastic,” Beranek said. “They really took the SDK and started integrating it into the app very quickly. It was within days that they had a first capability deployed so you could pay a bill. At Nuance, we were very impressed with how quickly they could move forward with that.”

The launch of this particular app makes Tangerine the first Canadian bank to offer a voice-controlled mobile app, as well as Touch ID authentication.

The app is set to launch for iOS in the next month or so, and then an Android version will follow.

In September, Nuance also announced that ING Netherlands has also deployed voice technology from Nuance in its mobile app. Tangerine is ING’s Canadian identity.

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