Absa brings voice biometrics for phone banking

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Absa is the second South African bank to deploy voice biometrics or recognition service to analyse and verify private banking clients based on their speech patterns and allows them to execute phone banking transactions through the bank’s call centre in a secure, smarter and quick manner.


Absa Bank informed its private banking clients on its website that “a new way to bank is here. New voice-activated account technology”.

It added: “The secure voice biometric technology means accessing your account has become faster (no lengthy call with consultants), smarter (authenticates your identity using the biometrics in your voice (voiceprint) to access your account) and safer (no need for passwords and you deal directly with your account).”

Earlier this year, Investec Private Bank was the first local bank to introduce voice biometrics to revolutionise South Africa’s banking industry.

In essence, a voice biometric system captures the unique characteristics of a client’s voice and creates an individual voiceprint. When a client contacts the organisation, the voice biometric technology will authenticate the client within seconds. It does this by comparing the client’s voice with the saved voiceprint and if there is an exact match the voice biometric technology grants access to the account.

However, if the voice print doesn’t match – in cases where there are disturbances from voice overlays or white noise – the telephone banker will still have the option of using traditional knowledge-based verification techniques to verify the identity of the caller.

Absa Bank said it was pleased to announce that identity verification using voice biometrics is now available to its customers through Private Assist.

“This service will enhance your security and offer you a seamless banking-by-phone experience. Currently, Private Banking clients have to answer security questions to confirm their identity when phoning us, which is time-consuming and could lead to frustration,” Absa said in a note to its private banking clients.

Voice biometrics is an automated customer authentication process that requires no effort on the customer’s part. The voice biometric system authenticate clients’ voice against his/her recorded voiceprint, enabling the bank to serve its clients without asking multiple security questions.

Voice biometric technology is similar to fingerprint and retina-scanning technology, and is equally secure. It is also a trusted way of authenticating the identity of a person using a remote verbal communication device such as a telephone.

As an Absa private banking client, the days of answering questions (like for example, “What is your cellphone number?” to verify your identity before accessing a bank account may soon be gone forever.

The voice biometric industry is poised to experience phenomenal growth: in 2013 the global sector generated more than $165m in revenue, which is estimated to rise to $308m by end of 2015 and as much as $421m in 2016, according to a recent study by Opus Research.

1 COMMENT

  1. […] Voice biometrics is an automated customer authentication process that requires no effort on the customer’s part. The voice biometric system authenticate clients’ voice against his/her recorded voiceprint, enabling the bank to serve its clients without asking multiple security questions. As an Absa private banking client, the days of answering questions (like for example, “What is your cellphone number?” to verify your identity before accessing a bank account may soon be gone forever. Read more. […]

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