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Netherlands bank expands support for using voice as password

How would you feel about using your voice as your bank password? It's no longer a far-fetched idea, and institutions around the world are already applying it!
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Published onJuly 30, 2015

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Aren’t you tired of passwords, pins and other complex security measures? These are usually not an obtrusive part for signing into your social networks, but once you step into more sensitive services, such as banking apps, they become imperative. We always try to find a balance between security and convenience, and Netherlands bank ING has found a way to keep access to user accounts simple, without sacrificing security.

The financial institution uses voice control, powered by Nuance’s “Nina”; except the bank calls it Inge. This allows the customer to access and manage their mobile banking app by using their voice, but the fun doesn’t end in mere voice commands. Customers can literally use their vocals as their password, something the vast majority of us will feel envious about.

Samsung Galaxy S5 finger scanner

The ING bank’s app enables the utilization of voice biometrics to perform tasks such as checking the balance and issuing payments within the app (the latter was just announced today). Furthermore, customers can also use their fingerprint readers with supported devices. These features are available for both Android and iOS apps, so this specific set of features will cover many of you. Over 100,000 users, to be more exact.

“By becoming the first bank in the Netherlands to incorporate voice biometrics into the mobile banking app, ING Netherlands is leading the charge in innovation by utilizing an effective solution that is natural and intuitive. Customers can now bank in a seamless and convenient way by using the sound of their voice from start to finish in the mobile app.” -Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for the Enterprise Division of Nuance

According to Nuance, this technology is light years ahead of usual security tactics (like passwords, PINs or security questions). Using voice biometrics is 80% faster, saves companies millions of dollars per year and keeps about 90% of customers at least a bit more satisfied, considering their preference to this technology. Not only that, but it seems to be more secure, as specific voiceprints are natural and very hard to fake. Furthermore, failed attempts can be recorded, providing the option to ban attackers and/or transfer their voiceprints to authorities for further investigation.

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Thankfully, ING Netherlands is not the only company using Nuance’s voice biometrics technology. It is expanding and we would love to see some more institutions adopting it. Among other participating partners are SK Telecom, the Australian Taxation Office, Tangerine Banka, Turkcell, Vodacom South Africa and even our neighbors from Santander Mexico.

We are falling behind! How many of you would like to take advantage of voice biometrics? Are fingerprint readers and passwords enough for you?