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Banking more convenient with voice biometrics

by December 22, 2016 General

By Pauline Songco

Mobile bank transactions can take time simply because of the process one have to go through for security purposes. Security questions, passwords or identification numbers are required for user authentication.
But Citibank, the country’s largest foreign bank, makes mobile banking more convenient because it now allows voice to be your password.
Citi Philippines CEO Aftad Ahmed said, “Voice biometrics is something that would help identify you. It is not a voice recording. It’s actually a series of algorithms that would help identify you. The recording of your voice during the initiation stage gets converted to algorithms and that recording then identifies you. Now, when you look at this, why is this important? Today, when you call in, you have to remember certain information. This eliminates the need for all of that, and at the same time greatly enhances the protection.”
Citi’s clients, which is more than 1 million, will have their identity verified in a matter of 15 seconds while they explain to the customer representative the reason why they are calling.
Ahmed further explained, “It’s not a recording that you’re matching that someone gets access to and be able to replicate. This is a unique tonality that is captured by the system. It’s not only a unique way to identify you. It was developed on a very customer-centric basis. Its uniqueness is intended with the customer’s experience with the bank. It is intended to shorten the authentication time. Because today you are generally asked to identify three to five questions. And if you make a mistake, that process could be longer.”
This is in addition to Citibank’s long list of innovations introduced in the country in a span of 114 years. In 1989, Citi was the first to launch online banking. As part of that, they distributed computers and modems to showcase the convenience of online banking. Ten years later, they introduced the first international ATM card in the Philippines. In 1994, they developed the domestic dollar transfer system. And in 2004, they were the first foreign bank to be accredited by the Bureau of Internal Revenue to collect taxes.
Ahmed adds it is because of the customers that they decided to introduce this breakthrough innovation. “This is part of our commitment to bring innovation your way. To make it much easier for you to bank with us. Why? Because we want to protect your accounts to a greater extent. This is in line with our ongoing commitment to continue to innovate, to continue deliver technology to you. Continue doing it on a customer-centric way, and continue to have you to be the center of all our efforts.”
For the record, voice biometrics has been implemented in the United States for two years now and is carried out in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.
Citi targets to deploy voice biometrics across the Asia Pacific to accommodate the 15 million Consumer Banking customers in the region.