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Barclays expands use of voice security for phone banking convenience

Barclays claims to have been the first bank to trial voice security technology in 2013. The technology identifies phone-banking users solely by their voice, eliminating the need for security questions and passwords.

“Voice authentication is a very useful and generally ubiquitous capability through smartphones but also feature phones and landlines,” said Ben Knieff, a senior analyst at Aite Group. “There are many authentication methods, but voice is one of the most widespread and natural to use with diverse devices and communication systems.”

Unique voiceprint
The goal of offering voice security technology is to make phone banking easier to use and more secure.

The technology is able to identify callers when they begin speaking, as each person’s voice is unique. As a result, callers do not need to remember or be able to retrieve a password, streamlining the experience of accessing their accounts from a phone.

If a customer forgets his or her password, it takes two minutes, on average, to get through the alternative security measures, per Barclays. Voice security speeds up the process significantly.

Barclays claims the process is more secure given that it is a highly personal form of identification.

The technology compares a caller’s voice against a voiceprint stored in the system.

The service is rolling out this month to personal and premier banking customers who are at least 16-years old. To register for the service, customers must call Barclays telephone banking service. The bank typically collects a sufficient voiceprint over the course of several calls. Once the voiceprint is collected, customers can opt to use voice security technology rather than a password.

Barclays offers a range of banking options, such as Web chat via Barclays Mobile Banking and video banking via smartphone, tablet or computer.

Speak up
Voice-recognition technology is playing a bigger role for merchants and banks as smartphone adoption continues to grow, enabling marketers to take advantage of the device’s native capabilities to enhance customer experiences.

Santander Bank is hoping to provide an easier banking application experience for British customers with a voice control feature enabling users to discuss their spending, reflecting the quick evolution of the technology (see story).

International bank ING is enabling voice-activated payments for users of its application to increase customer convenience and stay on top of cutting-edge technology (see story).

Financial services brand USAA has rolled out a new feature within its mobile application enabling consumers to leverage voice commands to complete tasks such as depositing a check and transferring funds, a tool that will be beneficial for visually impaired users (see story).

“Voice biometrics provides increased security and greater convenience improving customer experience,” Mr. Knieff said.