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Banking & Finance

Citi launches voice biometrics authentication

Released at: 10:44, 16/06/2016

Citi launches voice biometrics authentication

Photo: Citi/Archives

First bank to roll out voice biometrics authentication in region targets 1 million users within 12 months.

by Hung Nguyen

For Citi’s consumer banking customers in Asia Pacific, remembering multiple PIN numbers and responding to a series of questions to verify their identity when they call into the bank will soon be a thing of the past.

Voice biometrics authentication has now been implemented in Singapore, with Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan to follow in the coming weeks. It will be rolled out throughout the region in 2016 and 2017 to cover all 12 of Citi’s consumer banking markets in Asia Pacific, including Vietnam, which represent more than half of the bank’s 19 consumer markets globally.

Citi will be the first financial services firm to deploy voice biometrics authentication across Asia Pacific as the bank builds further on its successful innovation in retail banking in the region.

Citi has around 15 million consumer banking customers in the region and the bank expects to have at least 1 million customers actively using voice biometrics authentication in the next 12 months. Within three years it expects the number of users to grow to 3 million.

Once available, customers who call into the bank’s contact centers will have their identity automatically verified within 15 seconds or less as they explain their reason for calling. This is a reduction from an average time of around 45 seconds currently.

The voice biometrics authentication capability identifies customers through their voice print, which, similar to a fingerprint, is unique to each person. Citi clients can opt to enroll by recording their voices, which the bank will use to generate and store their voice prints for matching subsequent calls to Citibank. Each voice print will be uniquely tagged and cannot be reverse engineered once stored.

“The voice biometrics authentication capability underscores Citi’s focus on technology to better serve our customers,” said Ms. Anand Selva, Asia Pacific Head for Consumer Banking at Citi. “We know that remembering different PINs and answering multiple questions can make the process frustrating. With this new capability, we offer our customers a faster and more secure authentication for a better customer experience.”

“Biometrics will play a critical part in the future of banking and we are excited to be paving the way for Citi globally,” said Ms. Natasha Ansell, Citi Country Officer for Vietnam. “Today, our call centers receive increasing numbers of calls annually, of which a large portion are manually verified. With voice biometrics authentication we will make the verification process easier, faster, and more secure for clients.”

Asia is an important region for innovation at Citi. Six years ago the bank launched its new branch design - called Smart Banking - in Asia for the first time. The Smart Banking concept involves using technology, architecture and design and new retail channels to connect customers to their money and provide them with a better way of banking. Over 200 such branches have since been rolled out globally since the Asian launch.

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