Australia and New Zealand Banking Group want voice biometrics as method of authentication in its call centers

September 25, 2017 - 

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is seeking to use voice biometrics at call centers to authenticate customers across all services, according to a report by ZDNet.

Earlier this month, the bank partnered with Nuance to introduce voice identification technology earlier this month with its Grow by ANZ app.

The new app allows customers to make “pay anyone” payments of more than AU$1,000 (US$794.50) automatically, eliminating the need to visit a branch in person. In addition, voice ID can be used to make BPAY payments of over AU$10,000 (US$7,942.85).

Nigel Dobson, general manager of wholesale digital at ANZ said the app has experienced “high customer acceptance and success.” As a result, ANZ is looking to roll it out across its call centers.

“We will test and learn this capability, and our hope is to have it as a pervasive authentication capability for the bank for all of its front doors, if you like, within 12-24 months,” Dobson said. “What we think we have found with voice biometrics as an addition to authentication is something actually that gives high security and a significant degree of convenience.”

Citing banks like Barclays, HSBC and USAA whom have all launched biometric solutions in recent years, Dobson said he is worried the market might become too saturated with disparate authentication methods.

Alternatively, Dobson is hoping that financial institutions in Australia will work together to establish a unified solution.

“Every bank coming up with their own solution is probably not wise when you can have a standard response that is nationally utilized,” Dobson said. “Combining strong authentication coupled with secured credentials is the mission. We certainly have common interests as a banking community in implementing framework.”

Dobson noted how financial companies in Canada are currently taking a similar approach. The Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) including telecommunication firms and the government are working alongside with financial services providers.

“I think that’s a really interesting combination,” Dobson said. “Not every country has managed to become that collaborative and I can see enormous benefits of having telcos and financial institutions with complementary datasets trying to solve national identity and security. I would hope the same thing might happen here in Australia.”

With the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) launching its new payments platform pilot program later this year, Dobson is concerned that the platform will lead to a rise in fraud when it goes live with customer transactions starting in February.

“We’re expecting an increase in the success of fraud just simply because of the velocity of transactions,” Dobson said. “Transactions that are set, cleared, and settled and posted within 15 seconds obviously offer you a much greater viability to success in fraud attacks as opposed to slower payment tracks that have been used in the past.

“Coupled with open-data, we believe the market is upon significant innovation, but our collaborative energies need to be brought together to ensure that the customer experience is both convenient and secure.”

The new payments platform will allow customers to transfer near real-time funds between bank accounts, regardless of whether the recipient is an ANZ customer.

Using the new system, the user will be able to conduct an “instantaneous payment” with just the recipient’s email address or mobile phone number.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.