ANZ has announced it will be the first Australasian bank to introduce voice biometrics.

Circle Consulting & Software’s Edwin Sue is currently engaged by ANZ NZ, and has played a key role in the development of the voice biometrics solution, working closely with ANZ and Nuance. Ed had been a key member in the redevelopment of the ANZ phone banking application and the integration of that application with ANZ’s Genesys environment. His in-depth knowledge of the Genesys suite and experience with Nuance solutions, put Ed in a great position to be retained by ANZ for the voice biometrics project. Ed was engaged to provide technical application design, application development, solution integration with Genesys and Nuance interfaces, including technical liaison with Nuance.

The new system, which will identify a person using the characteristics of their speech, is designed to improve security on mobile devices for higher value transactions.

An ANZ spokeswoman told the Herald the New Zealand ANZ banking sector would first be rolling out voice biometrics to its customer contact centres by mid-year. “We’re also looking at other channels where this tool will enhance security, including our GoMoney app,” she said.

Currently customers need to use internet banking or visit a branch to complete transactions of more than $1000.

ANZ Managing Director of customer experience and digital channels Peter Dalton today said voice biometrics was the next step in making banking more secure and convenient. “One of the key challenges today for banking as the world becomes more digital is making it easier for customers to do what they want to do in a safe and secure way. “A person’s voice has five to 10 times as many security points than other methods such as fingerprints so we know this will improve security and be welcomed by our customers.” He said the technology is now “so advanced” that it can tell the difference between identical twins or a voice recording. “We also know that people are becoming more comfortable with using their voice to perform basic commands on their devices, so we see this is a natural extension of current technology and we are expecting this to be a popular enhancement of our mobile apps.” He said ANZ has been working closely with world-leading voiceprint and biometrics company Nuance.

An initial test using voice biometrics will begin with ANZ staff and select customers in May using the Grow by ANZ mobile app. The service will then be rolled out to ANZ goMoney and other digital services progressively.

Former Aucklander Shayne Elliott, ANZ’s group chief executive for Australia and New Zealand, tweeted, “voice security is the future. Easy, secure, elegant”.