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Citi Testing Voice Biometrics to Improve Security

Citibank Australia CEO believes voice is a stronger means of identification than fingerprint checks, iris scans, or any other method.

Securing new mobile banking customers has been a bit of a Catch-22 for banks: on the one hand, a recent study found that the typical mobile banking onboarding process banks use, in which they get people to sign up online, is too slow and cumbersome. On the other, because mobile banking customers are susceptible to Trojans, botnets and other types of fraud, it's important to make sure the user is who he or she says she is, and a lightweight sign-up process could subject the bank to criticism that it's not protecting its mobile banking customers properly.

That's why Citibank Australia CEO Roy Gori's remarks to ZDNet yesterday that the bank is planning to roll-out voice biometrics for identification drew our attention.

"Actually I think the next step in the evolution of security is voice biometrics," he said. "We are already sort of playing with this."

A person's voiceprint is more accurate than their fingerprint, their iris or any other means of identification, the CEO told the website.

It would also save time and money, Gori said, because it would cut out the traditional asking of questions for identification.

Amusingly, Gori said he tested a third-party system by trying to sound like a girl. "I personally registered and then tried to beat it. I spoke in a girl's voice. I muffled my voice ... I pretended I had a cold. It got it right," he said.

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