HSBC Wave Farewell to Passwords

This summer HSBC will become the first UK bank to launch a completely ‘speech enabled’ way of transacting over the telephone. Or, as the BBC call it, “a big leap towards the introduction of biometrics banking.”  In a nut-shell it should mean an end to those irritating phone menus that drives callers mad!

But how will it work in reality? Well, HSBC will instead use a highly advanced voice recognition system which will identify over 100 different characteristics of each customer’s voice. As everyone’s voice is completely unique you have in effect your own individual voice ‘print’ –  in much the same way as your fingers have a print. This should mean quicker calls, and less frustration of getting lost in the telephony abyss! A real revolution in the way calls are handled.

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However, there are a lot of doubts around how robust (or even secure) the system can be in reality. What happens if you have a cold and you call up – will it recognise you? Try calling it on a busy train with all the background noise, will it get round that?  Or what would happen if someone was to play a recording of your voice down the phone, would they then have access to your dough?

No doubt the technical bods have thought about these scenarios (and others), so it will be really interesting to hear if the system performs, otherwise prepare for the return of the irate caller! Conversely, if it all goes to plan look out for more banks following suit.