A major British bank is preparing to roll out biometric authentication as a password replacement for all its customers. HSBC says it is currently testing a voice recognition system, and is already going ahead with a fingerprint recognition on its mobile app.
Customers can still stick with their passwords if they would like to, but it seems clear that the bank would like to see as many enrolled as possible; a recent survey commissioned by HSBC found that 55 percent of respondents admitted that they rarely change their passwords, signalling a widespread security liability both for them and the bank.
The voice recognition technology was provided by Nuance Communications, a company with extensive experience in bringing voice biometrics authentication to financial institutions. Its system reportedly uses over a hundred unique metrics, allowing it to build a comprehensive voiceprint of a given customer.
While a bank’s adoption of biometric authentication is nothing new—many banks have embraced Touch ID on mobile, and major banks in other countries have introduced voice recognition into their call centers—the scale of HSBC’s deployments is noteworthy, as is the bank’s effort to encourage customers to make use of the biometric options. And when the voice recognition system fully launches later—before summer, HSBC says—the bank will likely be the first in the UK to offer such a means of authentication to all its customers.
February 19, 2016 – by Alex Perala