NAB to use voice biometrics for m-banking


National Australia Bank (NAB) is preparing to replace SMS pass codes with biometric voice verification to secure its mobile banking customers, according to CIO Magazine, New Zealand.

NAB introduced voice biometrics for its telephone banking customers over the summer. Users calling the bank’s contact centre can register their voice pattern, which NAB says is harder to steal than a password or PIN, to use as authentication.

Now, with increasing numbers of customers using internet-enabled mobile phones to access their accounts, NAB has begun trialling an extension of the voice biometric technology for online banking, Tim Cullen, head of direct channels, told the magazine.

The bank currently uses SMS passcodes to authenticate online customers but is looking to find a more secure and convenient system. Text message passwords that are sent to the same device that is used to bank online, present a security risk if the phone is stolen. In addition, the process of entering a code on the phone, toggling between screens, is unwieldy.

Using the biometric system, customers who initiate a transaction would be called by the bank to verify their voice print and complete the process. Cullen says, pending project approval, the system could be introduced in the next 12 months.

The technology has been developed by Salmat VeCommerce and is resold to the bank by telco Telstra as part of its $600 million network services deal.