Dulcet tones are the password to biometric banking
Biometric banking using voice or touch security is set to hit Britain's high streets.
More than 15 million HSBC and first direct mobile banking customers are being offered the chance to tap into their accounts with a voice and fingerprint verification system. It is hoped it could start to tackle the annoying issue of forgotten passwords.
Francesca McDonagh, HSBC UK's head of retail banking and wealth management, described the offer which is being made to customers by the summer as "the largest planned roll out of voice biometric security technology in the UK".
She said: "The launch of voice and touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account, using the most secure form of password technology - the body."
Enrolment for voice ID will be available by first direct to customers in the coming weeks, followed by HSBC by the summer.
Touch ID is currently available on all Apple mobile devices for both HSBC and first direct. Customers need to download the mobile banking app and follow the instructions to link their fingerprint to it.
Nuance Communications Inc are supplying the voice biometrics technology which works by cross-checking against over 100 unique identifiers including both behavioural features such as speed, cadence and pronunciation, and physical aspects including the shape of larynx, vocal tract and nasal passages.
Customers who opt-in will have to enrol their 'voice print' and will no longer need to remember or recite their current telephone security password letters or PIN.
There are 38% of Britons who tend to use the same password across most of their online accounts while 55% say they rarely update their passwords, according to a YouGov poll released by the banks to coincide with the launch.
It found that 78% of 2,038 adults questioned were confident their body is unique enough to be used as a password and that 74% felt this would become the default password of the future.
Tracy Garrad, chief executive of first direct, said that voices and fingerprints are unique, with physical and behavioural characteristics being "almost impossible to mimic".
She said: "While this is the largest roll out of voice ID in the UK banking, other industries will soon follow our lead."