Nationwide unveils smartwatch banking app

Building society has teamed up with IBM to let customers check balances and make payments through the power of voice

Nationwide's Exeter branch

Nationwide and IBM have teamed up to offer the building society's banking app on smartwatches running the Android Wear platform.

The service is available for everyone using the app on their Android phone and offers the same functionality - checking balances, transferring money, managing overdrafts and opening savings accounts - while on the move.

Customers can use it to look up their account balance just by speaking to the device and, although smartwatches are still in the early stages of commercialisation, Nationwide thinks they spell the future of mobile payments.

Tony Prestedge, chief operating officer at Nationwide, said: "Providing customers with a variety of ways to manage their money, whenever and how ever they want is a priority for us. Giving those members who want and have the technology the ability to check their balance on their watch provides them with even more choice as to how they interact with us whether it is online, through an app, face-to-face or over the phone. Our customers have the peace of mind that they can do business with us on their terms, not ours."

The company was one of the last high street financial institutions to start offering contactless payments cards, only introducing them this year. Barclaycard issued cards with the technology integrated back in 2008.

David Terry, Nationwide programme director at IBM Global Business Services in the UK and Ireland, said: "Financial services providers are increasingly realising how technology can be leveraged to help them become more agile and customer-focused."

Nationwide and IBM joined forces to create the innovation centre so ideas could be explored that provide additional choice and value to Nationwide members.

"Android Wear is a great example of where the research conducted in the Innovation Centre led to a fully working wearable solution within a week of the first devices being launched. This enabled refinement and testing prior to the Nationwide customer launch," he added.

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