US voice biometric specialist PerSay has installed a voice identification system to reset passwords for Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi. The company hailed the installation as a world-first and “a new era” in the use of voice biometrics in the financial services industry.
“The ‘colour of my cat’ and ‘my wife’s maiden name’ are questions that belong to the past,” said Ariel Freidenberg, PerSay’s executive vice-president for global sales and business development.
Freidenberg continued: “More and more financial institutions and other service providers are adopting voice biometrics as an essential element in their security and risk management procedures.
“We expect regulation to drive multi-factor authentication for web, phone, and mobile transactions and believe voice biometrics is the optimal authentication factor answering this need.”
Groundwork for the adoption of PerSay’s solution began in late 2006, when Bank Leumi launched a three-month pilot project in which 10,000 customers were enrolled prior to resetting their passwords. About 2,000 password resets were successfully performed during the testing phase.
Bank Leumi reported customers reacted positively to the service and appreciated being able to reset passwords at any time without having to wait for a staff member.
Bank Leumi’s contact centre currently handles some 2,000 internet banking password resets daily, with each reset call lasting about five minutes, so the potential cost savings of an automated solution are huge.
Established in 2000, PerSay has a number of other major voice verification projects to its credit.
These include an installation of customer-facing voice biometrics for telecoms company Bell Canada completed in April 2007, which PerSay believes is the world’s largest deployment. At the end of July 2009 the service had achieved 1.7 million voluntary customer enrolments and was undertaking 3 million verifications annually.
PerSay also claims credit for first biometric voice identification solution for a Chinese bank. The contact centre installation for China Merchants Bank, China’s sixth-largest bank, was completed in August 2008 in conjunction with Chinese telecoms specialist Anneng Telecommunication Technology.