First Direct Bank, a subsidiary of Israle's Bank Leumi, has begun the roll out of a voice verification system designed to identify customers over the phone without the need for passwords and PIN codes.
When a customer calls the bank, the system, developed by speech technology outfit Persay, records various physical parameters in the speaker's voice and provides confirmation that the caller is bona fide.
Muki Afori, CEO of First Direct, recently sent a letter to the bank's customers, announcing the launch of the new service. "This system will render it possible for us to provide our customers with better service, while shortening the duration of the call and increasing the level of information security," he wrote.
he says the bank is examining Persay's voice verification system as a means to identify the users who are logging into the First Direct Bank's new Web site, which was launched last month.
Yossi Confino, the bank's VP of operations says one of the main advantages of the system lies in the fact that it performs the verification during the course of the conversation between the customer and the call centre operative. "That has made the assimilation process much easier", he says.
Lloyds TSB of the UK is currently evaluating the results of a small-scale trial of the Persay system among 300 staff members. The system is being compared with a similar offering from Nuance, which was also recently tried out by the bank in a pilot project run by the University of Edinburgh.