Barclays is ditching passwords in favour of voice biometrics technology at its call centres, meaning that customers will be authenticated when they start talking.
Customers who call Barclays have previously needed to share their passcodes or 16-digit debit card numbers in order to verify themselves.
With the new system, customers will have their voice recorded and held on file by the bank. Then, when the call to access their account, they engage in a few seconds of conversation with a staffer.
During that time, Nuance FreeSpeech voice biometrics technology is used to compare the customer's voice to their unique voiceprint on file, and silently signals to the employee when the customer's identity has been verified.
Barclays began using the Nuance system at its wealth management arm in 2013, finding that 93% of customers rated the technology at least 9 of 10 for speed, ease of use and security.
Next month the bank is extending it to all customers (although there is an opt-out option), claiming that the technology is not only quicker than passwords but a more secure barrier against fraud.
Steven Cooper, CEO, personal banking, Barclays, says: "We can all relate to the frustration of forgetting a password at the crucial moment. Voice security can cut out that part of the call completely and, unlike a password, each person’s voice is as unique as a fingerprint."