View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
July 1, 2008updated 04 Apr 2017 4:18pm

Pay by voice at the ATM

If Nick Ogden has his way, signature-based authorisation could be a thing of the past.Ogden, chairman and CEO of Voice Commerce, a biometric voice authorisation company based in the UK, said that as payments technology continues to evolve at lightning pace, the days of needing physical authorisation with all its time delays, fraud risk and merchant hassle are over.Voice Commerce has teamed with NCR Corp to test a biometric voice authentication system that would let people withdraw money from automated teller machines without their ATM cards.Ogden said his companys technology enables people to make a withdrawal by entering their mobile phone number into an ATM. The system places a call to the phone, allowing the person to authenticate himself by matching his voice against an existing biometric voiceprint.

By EPI editorial

If Nick Ogden has his way, signature-based authorisation could be a thing of the past.
Ogden, chairman and CEO of Voice Commerce, a biometric voice authorisation company based in the UK, said that as payments technology continues to evolve at lightning pace, the days of needing physical authorisation – with all its time delays, fraud risk and merchant hassle – are over.
Voice Commerce has teamed with NCR Corp to test a biometric voice authentication system that would let people withdraw money from automated teller machines without their ATM cards.
Ogden said his company’s technology enables people to make a withdrawal by entering their mobile phone number into an ATM. The system places a call to the phone, allowing the person to authenticate himself by matching his voice against an existing biometric voiceprint.
“The mobile phone serves as the gateway, and the limits are set by the financial institution, but there is no reason why we can’t use this technology to allow voice authorisation of a host of transactions on any connective device that allows us sufficient data for two-factor authorisation,” Ogden told EPI.
“As a starting point, though, we want to use the mobile phone as a means of augmenting authorisation at ATMs, and for P2P [person-to-person], which both seem like natural markets to begin with.”
Ogden said he has much broader goals for the future, however. A renowned payments veteran, he was instrumental in the construction of Europe’s first on-line store in October 1994 and in the development of one of the first bank-endorsed e-commerce initiatives, BarclaySquare, in 1995.
Ogden founded the multi-currency processor WorldPay and led the company through its growth to over 270 employees with 20,000 customers in 120 countries and processing transactions in excess of $2 billion per annum.
“Voice Transact signatures will transform the way that banking and financial services transactions are conducted to provide a secure and convenient global standard for worldwide use,” he said.
“We believe that voice-signed transactions and payments will become as commonplace as chip and PIN because they address key security concerns by delivering convenience, control, and responsibility to the consumer and the substantial efficiencies and benefits to the financial institutions concerned.”
He said the system, Voice Transact, integrates seamlessly with existing payment and transaction processing systems, and added that a new client could be up and running within six weeks of joining the service.
From a consumer perspective, the system is easy to use. Consumers are asked to create an anonymous voice signature, which uses a biometric that they then use to ‘sign’ for payments and many other financial transactions. It seamlessly links to VoicePay, the consumer-facing voice-payments system that was announced in May 2007 by Voice Commerce.

Mobilising the paper cheque

Voice Transact enables financial institutions to lower risk, communicate far more securely and efficiently with their customers while providing increased confidence and reductions in fraudulent transactions. Significantly, it also transfers the signing responsibility back to the consumer, in exactly the same way that cheques are signed.

“This is a mobile ACH [automated clearing house] really, when you think about it,” Ogden said. “We are just mobilising the old paper cheque, and in way that can do many more things for banks and consumers.”
The deployment of Voice Transact is extremely timely: recent Harris Research suggested around 80 percent of consumers are concerned about fraudulent access to their bank accounts. In addition to reducing fraud, Ogden said Voice Transact will enable financial institutions to tap into new markets, such as mobile payments. Mobile wallets are projected to reach 1.4 billion users by 2015 (or 25 percent of mobile users worldwide), according to recent research by Edgar Dunn & Co.
The technology could also be used with a new type of P2P money transfer model, in which a remote user uses voice authorisation to grant permission for another person to withdraw funds from an account. This process could have big appeal in the remittance market, for example, with a sender instructing a recipient to access the sender’s account at an ATM.
When the call is made, the sender could authorise the transaction from miles away and the recipient would receive the funds.
Ogden, who said NCR plans to begin testing the technology with an unnamed bank in the Middle East, added that other announcements are forthcoming about additional Voice Transact clients.
The technology is reliable but it is not perfect, as many voice authorisation systems struggle in loud places and have trouble recognising users if they have a cold. Ogden said that Voice Transact has developed a backup system of mobile phone callbacks with challenge questions in case voice authentication fails.
Though it would seem less secure than wire transfers or paper cheques, Ogden stressed that voice authorisation is actually more secure than signatures or PINs.
Perhaps most importantly, voice biometrics is one of the only two-factor authorisation methods that can be used cross-channel.
Ogden said the Voice Transact system can support 10 different kinds of transactions, including mobile commerce, business-to-business payments, P2P payments, ATMs and account transfers.
And the applications extend into every interaction between customers and their banks, Ogden said. For example, when banks raise a credit card account limit, they typically notify the cardholder by mail, and only after the fact, something US consumers long have complained about.
Ogden said that his system could allow a bank to place automated calls to cardholders, asking them to accept or decline the increased credit limit by voice authorisation, improving customer relations while helping the institution keep an eye on unneeded credit extensions in a jumpy credit market.
A consumer using an ATM could receive a call moments later with an offer of a special consumer loan, and if the consumer agrees and voices authorises, the loan could be transferred instantly into the customer’s account.
“That is the real power of this technology,” Ogden said. “It allows the bank to create a much more meaningful relationship with the consumer and to do so in a non-intrusive way, through a technology that is always on the customer.”

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Wednesday.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing to Electronic Payments International