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Barclays telephone banking drops passwords in move to voice recognition

News: The aim is to speed up the service for customers and reduce fraud.

By James Nunns

Barclays is to get rid of passwords for its phone banking customers as it moves to using voice recognition technology.

The change, which will happen this week, represents a concerted effort from banks to move to technologies that will make services both easier and more secure.

Barclays isn’t the first to have started using voice recognition technology as First Direct and HSBC rolled out fingerprint and voice recognition systems while Lloyds bank has experimented with a system that would recognise customers’ typing patters.

While creating an easier to use system is one of the reasons for deploying systems like this, another is to help reduce fraud.

Steven Cooper, personal banking chief Barclays, said: “We have been testing it for a while to make sure it will work with the vast majority of people and that we won’t have a high rejection rate.

“We have caught a few fraudsters trying to ring up and gain access to other people’s accounts.”

Fraudsters have been caught calling telephone banking lines with one piece of personal data in order to try and gain hints of other pieces of personal data. After numerous calls it could be possible to have gained enough information in order to access an account.

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With voice recognition it should be much harder for this to be done.

The service will be open to all customers from Tuesday and the bank will be proactive in offering the service to those that are regular users of telephone banking.

Barclays began trialling the technology with some of its customers in 2013 and it has also introduced video banking in order to enable customers to speak to advisers remotely.

The challenge for banks like Barclays have been faced with is getting this technology tested and deployed in a speedy fashion. The bank has been working on this deployment for three years, which is a long time for a tech deployment.

Competition from challenger banks and other fintechs will require incumbent banks to develop and deploy much more quickly if they are to stay on top of changing customer demands and ahead of the challengers.

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