Barclays using voice recognition as a form of secure ID

With voice increasingly being used as a form of secure ID, Barclays has announced it was using the technology for telephone banking customers.

All Barclays' personal telephone banking customers were eligible to use the system, although they could opt out.

The technology is able to recognise a person's unique formation of words, eliminating the need for security questions or passwords.

The technology is in different stages of introduction at a number of banks.

First Direct had been signing up a number of customers to the system since March, while a month earlier, HSBC said it was introducing voice and touch ID in the summer.

According to Barclays, a customer's "voice print" was made up of over 100 characteristics based on the physical configuration of the speaker's mouth and throat.

The system captures data on the "voice print" during phone calls, and once this was complete any further calls could be matched against this information.

The system could still identify customers when their voice changed owing to a cold or sore throat, or with age.

Barclays said the system  also recognised people when their voice changed during gender reassignment.

The system cannot be cheated by anyone mimicking a voice, or family members who sounded the same, it said.

According to commentators, the move represents the latest step in the industry to abolish passwords, moving to technologies which banks believed were more convenient for customers and also more secure.

According to recent data from Opus Research, the voice biometrics authentication market was expected to grow from $200 million in 2013 to $750 million globally by 2017.

As the greater security and convenience offered by voice authentication became the norm for customer experience in financial services, the trend would likely extend to all customer-facing industries, they said.

In addition to voice recognition, HSBC customers would also be able to use fingerprint recognition systems for identification verification.

Brett Beranek, director of product strategy, voice biometrics, Nuance Communications, told, ''Barclays has long been an industry leader in adopting alternative authentication methods for its customers to enable a more seamless and secure experience.''