Barclays Introduces Voice Biometrics for Telephone Banking Security

Barclays Introduces Voice Biometrics for Telephone Banking Security

Sick of security questions and passwords when you call your bank and just want to speak to a real, human representative? At Barclays, they are about to be a thing of the past.

The London-based financial services giant announced this month that it is phasing out the old security methods in favor of voice biometrics. A person’s voice is as unique as their fingerprint, according to the bank, and the company’s new technology will be able to identify a person within their first few words on the phone.

Voice biometrics, which can instantly analyze the more than 100 characteristics that comprise the “physical configuration of the speaker’s mouth and throat,” will make the service both more secure and quicker to use. Barclays says that its records show that forgetting a security password can add two minutes — or more — to call wait times. This is good for neither the customer nor the bank.

“We can all relate to the frustration of forgetting a password at the crucial moment,” said Steven Cooper, CEO of personal banking at Barclays. “Voice security can cut out that part of the call completely and, unlike a password, each person’s voice is as unique as a fingerprint.”

The voice biometrics won’t be available to a user immediately. The system needs a certain amount of voice analysis time to lock down the unique nature of a person’s speech dynamics. So Barclays says that it will not institute voice biometric security on any clients until they have already made two previous calls.

But other than that, the new program is ready to go. Barclays says it was able to refine this technology through a pilot program that began in 2013 for select customers. It claims to be the first bank to have do so in Europe and has now advanced the voice biometrics to the point that it can do a full rollout to all of its clients across the world this month.

“There’s no need for customers to change how they bank with us — or, in fact, do anything differently at all,” said Cooper. “Just continue to use telephone banking in the same way.”

Photo: M Taylor

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