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UK Bank Extends Voice Biometrics Capabilities

March 1, 2017

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Santander is looking to extend its voice biometrics capabilities with a new trial of the technology within its mobile app. What benefits do voice biometrics bring and what are the stumbling blocks or barriers that need to be overcome?

UK Bank Extends Voice Biometrics Capabilities

Money talk

Santander, like a couple of other UK banks, offers customers the ability to use voice biometrics to log in to their banking accounts. But now the service will start to allow users to make payments to existing payees using their voice. It’s thought that voice assisted payments can be helpful to those who find using apps or typing difficult. The head of technology innovation at Santander, Ed Metzger said:

“This pioneering technology has huge potential to become an integral part of the future banking experience, playing a transformational role in the industry and redefining how customers choose to manage their money.”

Voice biometrics have the potential to be a secure and convenient way for customers to use services; although you might argue that customers would prefer the more discrete action of a fingerprint scan to log in, rather than talking to a phone – especially in public places. Nevertheless, the potential for further voice command functions could be appealing.

A word of caution

However, one other concern that was raised recently with voice biometrics, is that the human voice simply changes over time. A study by researchers at Pindrop highlighted the problem after tracking 122 speakers in six languages. Pindrop found, over a two-year period, that voice biometric error rates can double in frequency, because of the ways in which our voices naturally change over time. Particularly in men over the age of 60, their voice can change quite significantly at speed.

The director of research at the company, Terry Nelms, said that this evidence highlights it might not be wise to rely only on voice biometrics: He said:

“Too many companies will just deploy voice biometrics, and that’s a mistake. There’s a real need for multifactor authentication, with voice biometrics just being a piece of the puzzle.”

Whatever kind of biometric organisations choose to use, for really strong security, multifactor authentication is the way to go. Here at BioStore, we offer organisations a number of different combinations, so they can find the solution that is perfect for their needs, and to provide secure but simple to use solutions for all their employees – find out more here.

Planet Biometrics: Santander rolls out voice biometric banking

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