Barclays Replacing Security Questions With Voice-Recognition

We know you all love calling your bank and being asked the same security questions over and over; and we’re sure that bank employees get a real kick out of having to ask these questions and hearing customers groan. Barclays thinks it has the answer to the problem — voice-recognition software.

The folks at Nuance, which makes the system used by Barclays, announced yesterday [via TheVerge] that the financial institution is using voice-recognition instead of running customers through the gauntlet of questions about their favorite pets’ names, the color of their first cars, and what was with that guy in the bear costume in the Shining?

And the voice-recognition system won’t be asking you repeatedly to state your name at the beep. Instead, says Nuance, during the first 20 to 30 seconds of introductory chit-chat with the Barclays rep, the Nuance FreeSpeech voice biometrics technology will compare the customer’s voice to a unique voiceprint on file. When it determines that the caller is indeed the customer, the system silently alerts the rep. It’s only if the verification fails that the rep will get into the whole “What was the name of your fictional girlfriend at the Catholic school on the other side of town in 10th grade?” questions.

According to Barclays, it has enrolled 84% of frequent callers into the voice-recognition system over the last few months. It claims that 95% of enrolled callers were verified on their first use of the system.