The days of having to remember your childhood dog's mother's maiden name or what street your first high school mascot lived on could soon be a thing of the past. UK financial services firm Barclay Wealth has recently introduced a verification system that uses biometrics, rather than random facts, to confirm your are who you say you are.
The "Nuance FreeSpeech" system was developed by the Nuance company and adapted to Barclay Wealth, the British institution's private banking division to shorten interaction times with customers and eliminate the need to re-verify them for every call. It captures biometric data from a short, 30-second conversation between the customer and the call centre employee, matches the voiceprint to the one on file (typically with 95 per cent accuracy) and grants the verified user access to their account. If the voiceprint doesn't match, the caller can fall back on the traditional knowledge-based verification techniques of listing random facts about oneself.
So far, it's been a hit with 84 per cent of customers trying the service. According to Robert Weideman of Nuance, “Voice biometrics technology allows organisations such as Barclays to redefine their customer service experiences through a more intuitive and transparent authentication process, easing the burden on both customers and service agents." Hopefully this technology will make it to Australia soon so we'll stop having to provide sensitive information every time we call a service centre. [Guardian]
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