Biometrics: An industry view

June 6, 2016 - 

This is a guest post by Amit Desai, Senior Director of Solutions Marketing for Verint Systems.

Can you confirm your postcode? What’s your mother’s maiden name? What are the first, fourth and fifty-fourth letters of your secret password? In the face of such a barrage of ‘security questions’, the logical consequence of password-based authentication, customers rack their brains for the right answers and count the digits on their fingers. It is easy for frustrations to mount. Voice biometrics offers a solution to remove the need for these security questions and improving customer experience, while also keeping customer details secure.

Banks are Leading the Charge

Some industries, particularly those that hold sensitive customer information, such as the banking sector, have seized the opportunity and are widely adopting fraud detection applications to prevent fraud. For banks, the stakes are high if fraudsters are able to penetrate and take over customer accounts, so having the strongest capabilities in place helps them to uphold reputations and save potentially millions in fraud losses.

There’s also evidence to suggest that customers are more trusting of those organisations that are taking the steps to ensure their customer data is kept safe. While our research with Ovum suggests that one in five consumers don’t trust any businesses to keep their information safe, 43 per cent do trust their bank with their data. While this highlights the long road ahead for brands trying to build consumer confidence, it does show that banks are on the right path to cementing this relationship with their customers.

Compare this with sectors that have been much slower to uptake the technologies, such as the utilities industry: a miniscule three per cent of consumers trust their utilities provider to keep their data safe! It’s evident that those who are investing in security measures are benefitting from customer trust and loyalty.

Facilitating the Change

The Government and public sector has a key role to play in making voice biometrics mainstream, and in turn gaining consumer trust. The UK needs to learn from the likes of Australia, where the tax office has rolled out biometric authentication applications to its mobile app, in addition to the 1.5 million voiceprints it already uses on a daily basis.

It would be encouraging to see UK public services following suit and making wider use of voice biometrics to achieve cost efficiencies and drive out fraud, as well as allaying consumer concerns through normalising biometrics. The public sector has a unique role to play in encouraging mainstream adoption of this compelling technology.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

As voice authentication gets smarter, so do the criminals trying to break in. Criminals understand that it’s quicker and more efficient to buy card details from the dark web, rather than hacking through endless layers of security. The downside to buying customer details through this untraceable source is that the criminal has all the details, but no way of knowing how much money they have available to them in the account.

Fraudsters have on many occasions been known to pose as the customer and call into contact centres and ask how much money is in the account. In the past, contact centres have been giving the information away freely, allowing the fraudster to spend the correct amount of money. Now, using voice biometric technology, the contact centre can recognise known fraudster voices on even innocuous-sounding calls for balance inquiry. Upon recognition, the contact centre can alert the customer and fraud departments to shut down accounts before any money has been stolen, stepping in as a front line fraud detection employee before any fraud has taken place.

To beat these threats, businesses from all sectors need to step up and embrace the new technologies that are available to them. Voice biometrics is a weapon that organisations can use to battle and eliminate fraud, and maintain credibility. Alongside this, businesses can be champions of customer service, ensuring they get their customers queries answered quickly. It’s a win-win situation…for everyone except the fraudsters!

DISCLAIMER: BiometricUpdate.com blogs are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BiometricUpdate.com.

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About Amit Desai

Amit Desai is Sr. Director of Solutions Marketing at Verint Systems. Amit's professional career has included executive roles in products and marketing at voice biometrics, speech recognition, and analytics software companies in Silicon Valley. Amit studied computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.