Security and privacy barriers to consumer uptake of voice authentication

Security and privacy barriers to consumer uptake of voice authentication

Consumers are ready to adopt voice authentication techniques for identity verification in financial transactions, but security and privacy worries remain a barrier to widespread uptake, according to research conducted by US financial services firms in association with the Financial Services Technology Consortium and TouchPoint Consulting.

Leading financial institutions, including Charles Schwab, The Dreyfus Corporation, Visa, and Wells Fargo, were among the study's primary sponsors.

The findings are being used to inform decisions ranging from technology adoption to marketing and deployment strategies, as well as user interface design.

Thomas LaCentra, vice president and director of customer service at Wells Fargo Card Services, says the study results are helping the bank to make a business case for voice authentication.

"The study answered key questions about user acceptance that will be used to craft our enrollment strategy," he says.

The study, the first of its type, comprised qualitative and quantitative research as well as hands-on testing of several voice authentication applications in a lab setting.

Participating technology vendors, including Authentify, Nuance Communications, TradeHarbor, TargusInfo, Versay Solutions, and Vocent, contributed collateral materials as well as recorded and interactive applications used in the research.

Paul Heirendt, CEO of TradeHarbor, says: "Several institutions that were waiting for confirmation of consumer acceptance are now moving forward with pilots and projected rollouts based on the positive consumer response in this study."

The research found that when properly presented, consumers react positively to voice authentication, with convenience the key factor to acceptance.

Jack Carroll, TouchPoint partner and director of the project, emphasises the similarity between voice authentication and ATM technology in the early stage of its adoption. "Consumers intuitively recognise the convenience, but are concerned because they don't understand the technology, or how it may affect their security," he says. "Therefore, the path to successful implementations will require design, communication, and tuning efforts that are responsive to the changing nature of user knowledge and concerns."

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