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Barclays swaps passwords for voice IDs for telephone banking

Engadget Engadget 2/08/2016 Jamie Rigg
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Just as fingerprint sensors have made smartphones more useful and secure, voice-authentication tech is making the dreaded call to customer services that bit more convenient. Following TalkTalk and fellow bank HSBC's example, Barclays has also introduced voice identification to its telephone banking service in the UK. No stranger to biometrics, Barclays has been trialing voice recognition among a subset of customers for several years, only now making it available to anyone with a personal account.

Naturally, Barclays is using Nuance's crème de la crème voice-verification tech, which can recognise more than 100 unique identifiers in speech. These include speed, emphasis and pronunciation, as well as vocal tract, nasal passage and larynx shape. Customers don't have to do anything to enable the new security measure, as such. Over the course of two or three calls, Barclays will capture your individual voiceprint and use it to verify you're you thereafter.

You can choose to opt out of the program if you want, of course; but that would mean you can't tear up that almost illegible, dog-eared Post-it note of passwords and security questions once and for all.


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