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OCBC Bank says voice biometrics for authentication will be available to all retail customers by Q4


Singapore financial institution OCBC Bank announced that retail customers will be able to use a voice biometrics solution to authenticate a majority of banking transactions by the fourth quarter of this year.

The bank launched a voice biometrics solution to a targeted group of retail customers in September of 2015 that allowed these customers to use their voiceprints to authenticate banking requests for checking accounts and cards balances, latest account transactions and the status of deposited cheques.

The voice biometric authentication replaces PINs, one-time passwords and security questions at the bank’s contact centre, making the access to banking transactions and customer service agents faster.

Customers need to create a voiceprint that can be matched to their vocal password to verify their identities. To enroll their voiceprint, customers are asked to say a passphrase three times. A passphrase is an explicit sentence crafted by OCBC Bank to be spoken by the customer into the system to capture the customer’s voice. The customer’s voiceprint is created using the spoken passphrase and is stored in the system’s database.

To authenticate a banking transaction, the customer will be asked to say the passphrase that was used to enroll his or her voiceprint. If further verification is needed to confirm the customer’s initial vocal password is valid and is not a voice recording, the system will then ask the customer to say a different sentence from the enrolled passphrase. The customer’s voice is captured and is compared with the relevant stored voiceprint on the database. A verification result is then provided by the system. The authentication process is hassle-free and can be done in 15 seconds.

A voiceprint is not a recording of a voice but a digital representation of a person’s vocal characteristics, so it cannot be disguised and is not affected by emotion or a blocked nose.

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