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Banking on voice biometrics

Tatra Banka, a subsidiary of Raiffesen Bank International AG, has deployed a voice biometrics product to authenticate the identity of its customers – using the sound of their voice.

By speaking with an agent, customers can be authenticated by voice; the product used being Nuance’s FreeSpeech. Tatra Banka was established in 1990 as the first private bank in Slovakia.

Until very recently, when Tatra Banka’s customers contacted the bank’s customer service department, they had to prove their identity by scanning a card with a card reader before proceeding with their phone call. Today, when customers call Tatra Banka, they engage in ten to 15 seconds of natural conversation with the service agent to verify their identity by voice and gain access to DIALOG Live, Tatra Banka’s customer service system. During the customer’s conversation with the agent, Nuance FreeSpeech voice biometrics compares the customer’s voice to their unique voiceprint on file with Tatra, and signals to the service agent when the customer’s identity has been verified, allowing them access to DIALOG Live. Since the introduction of Nuance’s FreeSpeech voice biometrics at Tatra Banka, more than 90,000 customers have enrolled.

Igor Vida, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tatra Banka, said: “Client servicing trends in banking are contradictory at first glance – fast and simple services for clients with the highest possible level of security. We succeeded in meeting these two conditions thanks to voice biometrics. As the first bank in Central Europe to deploy a voice biometrics solution in this way, we allow our clients to access our banking services with a unique security tool they carry with them at all times – their voice.”

According to the product firm customers have conveyed their frustration when it comes to proving their identity through token-based and knowledge-based authentication processes such as PINs, passwords and security questions. Nuance quotes more than 85pc of people in a recent survey that they are fed up with these legacy authentication methods.

Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division, said: “We’re seeing unprecedented global interest in biometrics for user authentication, and voice biometrics in particular offers a solution for the enterprise that is both secure and convenient, and which simplifies the first point of customer service contact – currently a common frustration point for so many consumers.

“Organizations like Tatra Banka are able to deliver a much more convenient and secure experience to their consumers by simply engaging them in conversation to authenticate, as opposed to requiring special hardware, passwords or PINS. The entire experience becomes smoother for both the consumer and the agent, an added benefit beyond the security.”

At this week’s Opus Research Voice Biometrics Conference in London , visitors will learn more about Nuance’s voice biometrics and will hear first-hand from customers, including Tatra Banka, who are using voice biometrics to improve their customer service. Nuance reports 35 million voiceprints deployed by its customers

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