US voice biometric specialist PerSay
has installed a voice identification system to reset passwords for
Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi. The company hailed the
installation as a world-first and “a new era” in the use of voice
biometrics in the financial services industry.
“The ‘colour of my cat’ and ‘my wife’s maiden
name’ are questions that belong to the past,” said Ariel
Freidenberg, PerSay’s executive vice-president for global sales and
Freidenberg continued: “More and more
financial institutions and other service providers are adopting
voice biometrics as an essential element in their security and risk
“We expect regulation to drive multi-factor
authentication for web, phone, and mobile transactions and believe
voice biometrics is the optimal authentication factor answering
Groundwork for the adoption of PerSay’s
solution began in late 2006, when Bank Leumi launched a three-month
pilot project in which 10,000 customers were enrolled prior to
resetting their passwords. About 2,000 password resets were
successfully performed during the testing phase.
Bank Leumi reported customers reacted
positively to the service and appreciated being able to reset
passwords at any time without having to wait for a staff
Bank Leumi’s contact centre currently handles
some 2,000 internet banking password resets daily, with each reset
call lasting about five minutes, so the potential cost savings of
an automated solution are huge.
Established in 2000, PerSay has a number of
other major voice verification projects to its credit.
These include an installation of
customer-facing voice biometrics for telecoms company Bell Canada
completed in April 2007, which PerSay believes is the world’s
largest deployment. At the end of July 2009 the service had
achieved 1.7 million voluntary customer enrolments and was
undertaking 3 million verifications annually.
PerSay also claims credit for first biometric
voice identification solution for a Chinese bank. The contact
centre installation for China Merchants Bank, China’s sixth-largest
bank, was completed in August 2008 in conjunction with Chinese
telecoms specialist Anneng Telecommunication Technology.