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Barclays customers can use voice recognition rather than remembering passwords

Published 01/08/2016

Barclays' personal banking customers will be able to use their voice to clear security checks
Barclays' personal banking customers will be able to use their voice to clear security checks

Barclays personal banking customers will be able to use their voice to clear security checks instead of needing to remember passwords.

The bank, which said "each person's voice is as unique as a fingerprint", started offering voice security technology to a small number of customers in 2013.

Now, it has announced it is making the option of using voice security instead of passwords open to all its personal banking customers. The service is not yet available for corporate and business clients.

The initiative identifies callers based solely on their voice, removing the need for them to answer security questions or give passwords.

Barclays' telephone banking service will create a digital profile of customers' voices - like a unique fingerprint - over the course of around three phone calls.

Once Barclays has built up a sufficient profile, customers can then opt in to u se voice security technology rather than a password to identify themselves, if they want to.

Explaining how the initiative works, Barclays said: "Each person's voice is as unique as their fingerprint, made up of over 100 characteristics based on the physical configuration of the speaker's mouth and throat.

"Therefore, when a customer calls up to use telephone banking, the technology will be able to identify them simply from the first few words that are spoken."

The bank said if a customer has forgotten their password, it takes two minutes on average to get through the alternative security measures - so voice security should speed up this process significantly.

As well as potentially making the process of telephone banking quicker for customers, Barclays said it will also create a greater barrier against fraud, "due to the highly personal form of identification".

Steven Cooper, CEO of personal banking at Barclays, said: "We can all relate to the frustration of forgetting a password at the crucial moment. Voice security can cut out that part of the call completely and, unlike a password, each person's voice is as unique as a fingerprint."

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