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Santander has announced plans to launch voice banking technology in the UK that will allow its customers to use their banking services by talking to their SmartBank iPhone app.

The technology will be launched in two phases, with the initial aimed at assisting customers get to grips with the basic features.

The second phase will enable customers to make payments, report lost cards, set up account alerts and answer questions about spend. This phase is expected to be launched later in 2016.

Santander said that the technology, provided by Nuance Communications, will sort spending by day, week or month, and also by different retailers, thereby helping customers monitor spending easily.

Santander head of customer and innovation Sigga Sigurdardottir said: "The worlds of technology and banking continue to evolve at pace. We are excited to be the first UK high street bank to bring voice-assistant technology into the customer user experience.

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"Today sees us take the first step using this pioneering technology and the more customers use it, the more intuitive it becomes. We believe it has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience."