Voice recognition better than fingerprints - BNZ
BNZ customers will soon be using voice identification straight out of a James Bond film, with technology the bank claims is more secure than fingerprinting.
The bank will begin introducing "voice biometrics" to its call centres from October, a replacement for the usual series of time-consuming personal questions.
Once customers have set it up, all they will have to do to verify their identity is read their access code into the phone.
BNZ head of contact centres Mel Cadman said even a skilled imitator would have no hope of hoodwinking the system.
"A fingerprint has 14 markers, for comparison. A voice print has 40. Then if you add in tone, inflection and accent, that can actually increase to 120," she said.
"So [it's] really, really impossible for anybody to replicate your voice."
The bank is also introducing "open speech navigation", where customers can direct calls simply by saying what they want to do.
At the moment, one in five calls to BNZ centres go through to the wrong part of the business.
While voice-recognition technology is a source of frustration for some, Cadman is promising a smooth experience.
She said the broad range of accents in multi-cultural New Zealand was something the bank had been particularly wary of.
More than 300,000 customer calls have been recorded and analysed, meaning the computer should be able to decipher even the thickest Scottish burr.
While the technology is a first in New Zealand banking, BNZ's parent National Australia Bank has had some teething troubles over the ditch.
It has put the voice biometrics system on hold, while retaining the open navigation.
- © Fairfax NZ News