According to the experts polled at last year’s Money 2020 conference in Las Vegas, consumers in the United States are about six years away before the majority of their everyday physical financial transactions are performed with their mobile devices. The biggest obstacle the mCommerce lobby has had to face on all ends of the equation in making this mobile transacting future a reality has been security. PINs and verification codes are already very fragile when taking into account the massive security nightmare that is the online shopping experience from a mobile device, but they are also cumbersome (if you don’t want to have your financial information saved on a device or in a browser then get ready to manually enter all of it every time you want to buy a novelty t-shirt).
Luckily, as readers of Mobile ID World are sure to be aware: there are an exciting number of strong authentication solutions in the pipeline tailored to exactly this cause. U.S. Bank is currently piloting such a solution with its employees, one that uses voice biometrics in order to access a credit card account on a properly equipped mobile device.
This solution, provided by Nuance Communications, is for account management purposes, allowing for voice authenticated access to provide account balance information, transaction history searching and balance payment options. Users need to simply speak a passphrase, which is then measured, compared to a template and then given the OK for account access (or not if verification is negative). It is a popular security solution in the financial world, since a voice interface is at the historical heart of the smartphone: easy as speaking, capable on all devices with microphones.
The pilot is a step in the right direction for U.S. Bank, as relying parties are a key ingredient in the recipe for a more secure future of finance.
“Innovative organizations like U.S. Bank recognize that voice biometrics can bring a new level of convenience and security to the customer service experience,” says executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division, Robert Weideman. “By eliminating the interrogation process that consumers are typically put through and replacing it with a natural, conversational voice interaction, companies can really start to reinvent their customer service experience.”
As alluded to at the top of this article, increased security is useless from a consumer standpoint if it doesn’t also ease up on the friction. Online access to banking services can be a trial for anyone observing proper password and security question etiquette. Thankfully for U.S. Bank patrons, optimal customer experience is at the heart of this biometric pilot.
Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank Payment Services expands: “Voice biometrics is a unique identifier that will help us improve the customer experience. Customers are becoming accustomed to using their voice to interact with their smartphones and can become frustrated with key entering passwords. Exploring a spoken passphrase login through this technology is a logical next step in our work in biometrics.”