Santander has become the first bank in the UK to enable customers to make payments using their voice.

The bank has updated the iPhone version of its SmartBank app so that it now allows account holders to use voice commands to check their balance as well as authorise payments to existing payees.

Other banks have previously introduced voice biometrics as a means of logging into their account instead of a password, but Santander is the first in the UK to use it to carry out actions on a bank account, which also includes the ability to report a stolen card.

Ed Metzger, head of technology innovation at Santander, said: “The worlds of technology and banking continue to evolve at pace, working hand in hand to deliver a friction-free user experience.

“We are excited to be the first UK high street bank to enable customers to make payments using just their voice, offering them another channel of choice in how they wish to bank.”

The new technology is being piloted on the iOS version of the bank’s official app, and follows the introduction of what they called voice assistant banking last year, which enabled users to ask the app questions about spending habits.

“Appetite for simple, intuitive banking solutions has grown significantly in recent years,” Mr Metzger said.

“This pioneering technology has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience, playing a transformational role in the industry and redefining how customers choose to manage their money.”