Barclays brings on Nuance to set up voice-recognition for phone banking

Pins and security questions are old stuff. Barclays Wealth now recognises a customer’s voice within 30 seconds of a phone call to grant them

Pins and security questions are old stuff. Barclays Wealth now recognises a customer’s voice within 30 seconds of a phone call to grant them authentication in the bank’s call centres.

Barclays Wealth customers will now no longer need to answer multiple security questions while trying to use phone banking. Using an advanced voice recognition system designed by Nuance FreeSpeech, the customer care executive answering the phone will be able to verify the name of the customer.

“Intrusive security questions have now been replaced by customers simply speaking, in their natural voice, to the banking agent – the customer’s voice is verified after less than a minute making the authentication process quick and secure,” Barclays Wealth said in statement.

"How may I help you, Mr. Smith?" (Image Credit: The Telegraph)


Barclays Wealth is the private banking division of the company. It has become the first financial service to use voice biometrics to authenticate customers. Currently available in the UK, this feature is set to roll out to other Barclays’ customers soon.

Since its introduction, Barclays says that 84 percent of its customers have signed up for this system with about 95 percent of these having been successfully verified in successive calls. The feature was first introduced five months ago and 93 percent of Barclays Wealth have rated the bank a 9 out of 10 for speed, ease of use and security.

But what happens if the voice recognition system fails to point out a customer? If the customer is not verified, the system fails to recognise him or his transactions are above security thresholds, Barclays’ agents will revert to the old, reliable question-answer format to authorise him.

Nuance is the company behind Apple’s much loved Siri voice assistant and it has developed Nuance FreeSpeech to improve security while phone banking while making call durations shorter, thereby helping Barclays save on costs.

"We're in the midst of a rapid evolution in customer service today, as people demand more natural, human interactions when they seek service and support," says Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division. "Nuance's voice biometrics technology allows organizations such as Barclays to redefine their customer service experiences through a more intuitive and transparent authentication process, easing the burden on both customers and service agents."

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