Voice recognition for your bank account – are you ready?
A friend recently called his bank and was asked if he would prefer to use voice identification to access his sensitive information the next time he calls. His response? No, thanks; I’ll stick with a password. While biometric identification is growing for credit cards, online payments and banking services, adoption of these new technologies by consumers (at least non-millennials like my friend) might be slow-going.
So, in case you’re a sworn Luddite, here are a few things to know about voice biometrics so you can be prepared if your bank asks if you want to use your lungs to log in:
- Your voice may be more secure than a password. Banks that have started using voice recognition technology say that your voice will better safeguard your personal information, especially since the majority of people don’t create new, complex passwords for each new account. (Almost 15 percent of people use the same password for all of their accounts).
- You’re likely to get less frustrated. Instead of entering your account information and password (which you may have to shout if you’re in a public place) just to find out your balance, voice recognition promises to be a much easier experience. Banks, such as Barclays, are using passive voice technology that is free-form, text-free and accent-free, so you should be able to access your sensitive data simply by saying what you want. Citi, for instance, records 130 unique characteristics of your voice, such as vocal tract length and shape, pitch and speaking rate rather than accents or words.
- Use of biometrics for authentication is growing. Some of the major banks that have been testing voice recognition technology with U.S. customers over the past couple of years are now making it available to more markets. Citi is rolling out voice recognition in the Asia Pacific region, and HSBC is offering voice recognition in the U.K.
If you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of using your voice for identification, you can opt out of using the technology. However, as I discussed in the video story on new biometric credit cards, the use of biometric authentication methods continues to grow. Soon your voice will be to your bank account as your fingerprint is to your smartphone: the easiest and quickest way to access your information.
See related: Credit card companies may be analyzing your voice