by Mark Latham, Herald Scotsman
The way we access internet, mobile and phone banking is to be revolutionised as a host of new biometric technologies are rolled out by the big financial institutions.
HSBC is to launch voice recognition for phone banking and touch security log-in technology for mobile banking, saving its customers from having to remember passwords or personal identification numbers based on their inside leg measurements or pet names before accessing their accounts. The announcement comes just weeks before the launch of Atom Bank, one of the new breed of so-called ‘challenger banks’, which will be using face recognition technology to allow customers to log in quickly.
Voice recognition software for banking is not new, but so far has only been used on a small scale. Barclays introduced the technology in 2013 but has so far only make it available to a small number of corporate clients. RBS and NatWest, meanwhile, have been offering finger print technology via an Apple mobile device for a year.
HSBC’s move will see the voice and fingerprint technology being offered to First Direct customers in the next few weeks, followed by HSBC’s customers over the summer, bringing the technology to over 15 million UK customers. The system will include behavioural features such has speed, cadence, accent and pronunciation as well as measurable physical aspects such as the shape of the larynx, vocal tract and nasal passages.
Once customers have opted in to the service, they will have to record a “voice print” after which they can dispense with their passwords and the need to memorise password information.
When they next login they will be prompted to say a few words and the technology will compare this with their voice print.
Even if somebody has a cold the system will still work as their accent, cadence or pronunciation remain the same regardless of whether they are unwell.
Other identification technologies currently under development include heart-rate recognition (which measures the unique pattern of people’s hearts), vein-pattern recognition (which recognises the unique pattern of veins in the hand, wrist or arm), blood flow recognition (where the blood flow through a customer’s hand is measured by a mobile phone) and iris and retina recognition. A recent YouGov survey found that more than a third of people now believe that traditional passwords are an outdated security measure. The survey found that 38 per cent of people use the same password for most of their online activity while 55 per cent rarely update their passwords, which makes it easier for hackers to obtain their personal data.