Lloyds TSB is trialling voice biometrics to identify phone banking customers in a bid to reduce identity fraud and improve customer service.
The bank, which is in the final two weeks of trialling voice recognition systems, said voice biometrics could double security. It is working with Nortel Networks and speech recognition firm Nuance to test the system.
Peter Littlewood, Lloyds TSB's senior manager of interactive voice response (IVR) service deployment, said the bank was assessing its use for 'level two' authentication of banking services, such as customers increasing card limits or cancelling standing orders.
"It's a very strong form of authentication and would stop customers having to jump through hoops," he said.
Andy Dennahy, Nortel Networks' Europe, Middle East and Africa director of self-service solutions, added: "[Voice authentication] would improve the usability of the existing applications by removing the need for cumbersome Pins."
Lloyds TSB said it will first need to check how comfortable customers are with the concept before rolling out the system.
The bank, which last week processed its 70 millionth IVR call, said it was also piloting overdraft systems using automated technologies.
PhoneBank Express customers trialling the system have been able to request an overdraft using IVR when reaching their credit limit. Over 30,000 overdrafts have been approved so far using the IVR trial.
"There is still a bit of a fear about asking your bank manager for an overdraft," said Littlewood.
"IVR offers a way for people to agree a new overdraft limit with the bank without speaking to an operator, as long as they meet the necessary criteria and checks."
Lloyds TSB is now processing 70,000 IVR speech-based calls a day and says that the service has saved the bank the equivalent of the cost of running two large call centres.
Littlewood said the bank would look to give customers different ways to access their accounts. "We realise that customers will want to use different customer service channels at different times and in different situations," he added.
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