India’s ICICI bank is determined to make banking as simple as possible for its customers. The Mumbai-based bank already enables customers to transfer money, check their bank balance and top up phone credit using their smartphone and Twitter account. Now, ICICI customers can access their accounts and make transactions using only their voice, which is their new password.
Customers register a ‘voice print’ which is stored on the bank’s database. Each sample has over 100 characteristics — including voice modulation, accent, pronunciation and speed — making it impossible to imitate. When the customer telephones the bank from their registered number, the bank uses voice recognition to determine if the voice is a match. The customer’s unique voice therefore functions as their new password, replacing other authentication methods such as card numbers, personal addresses or security questions.
The service will be available to 33 million existing customers. Could voice authentication be used as a security measure by other businesses?