HMRC has announced it will start rolling out Voice ID technology to some customers on its phone service, in its next stage of embracing biometric technology.
The department said that some customers calling either the tax credits and Self Assessment helplines will be offered the chance to enrol in the voice identification system, which it claims will make it easier and quicker for customers to pass the necessary security steps when ringing HMRC.
To enrol a customer has to repeat a vocal passphrase up to five times, before being passed to an advisor to provide the usual security information. Once this is logged the customer can then use this phrase to identify themselves when they ring in the future.
To begin with HMRC will just be building a ‘bank' of customer passphrases before they actually roll the system out for us, though, so it may be some week before customers who have enrolled can use the service. Customers can also opt-out of the service if they wish.
The HMRC said the technology in use is "well-proven", although it did not say if it was a third-party system in use or an in-house service. It did say, though, that i identifies over 100 characteristics of a persons voice before determining if it is a match.
HMRC director general for Customer Services, Ruth Owen, said the rollout of the technology was part of a push to bring more advanced digital technologies to those that still prefer to deal with the organisation over the phone
"Millions of our customers are choosing to use our digital services rather than picking up a phone or pen, with more joining them every day. But we know that not everyone can, or wants to, deal with us online, and so we're continuing to improve our services across all contact channels," she said.
"Voice ID is the latest example of the cutting-edge technology we are using to make it easier for people to manage their tax and tax credits."
The rollout of voice ID services follows on from the move by HMRC to enable fingerprint scanning technology for its mobile app via Apple's TouchID service on iPhones and iPads and similar services on Android devices.
It also said it would bring the same capability to its Windows app at some point during 2017.
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