Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Citi intros voice biometrics in PH as password replacement

US-based Citi, which has introduced tech innovations in the banking sector over the last few decades, has rolled out in the Philippines its pioneering ?voice biometrics? authentication tool that allows clients to access their accounts in more or less 15 seconds.

At a media launch held on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, Citi?s top local officials came in full force to launch the groundbreaking technology that has been two years in the making.

Citi Philippines CEO Aftad Ahmed speaking during the media launch in Makati City
Citi Philippines CEO Aftad Ahmed speaking during the media launch in Makati City

With voice biometrics, Citi said it scustomers would no longer need to remember passwords, or personal identification numbers, or answer a series of questions to verify their identities.

Citi Philippines CEO Aftad Ahmed and consumer banking head Bea Tan said the bank?s more than 1 million clients in the country can simply enroll in voice biometrics and have their voices be the means for authentication of their phone banking transactions.

?We are proud of our strong track record in innovation, and we are delighted to once again take the lead in introducing a game-changer in the banking industry,? said Ahmed.

The voice biometrics authentication capability identifies customers through their voice print, which, similar to a fingerprint, is unique to each person.

Citi clients can opt to enroll by recording their voices, which the bank will use to generate and store their voice prints for matching subsequent calls to Citibank. Each voice print will be uniquely tagged and cannot be reverse engineered once stored.

Once available, customers who call into the bank?s contact centers will have their identity automatically verified within 15 seconds or less as they explain their reason for calling. This is a reduction from an average time of around 45 seconds currently or 66% less time spent verifying their details currently.

The new authentication process comes as a good alternative especially after the well-publicized hacking of Comelec?s database, which stored sensitive information that banks use to verify their customers. Citi officials, however, said the voice biometrics is just an option and that complementary verification methods would still be used by the bank.

?Voice biometrics is a great example of how we at Citi listen to our clients and leverage technology to address their concerns,? explained Tan.

?With our client?s agreement, we can digitize their voice print and with a successful registration, the next time they call, we will do away with the three to five questions to verify their identity, which can take between 45 and 60 seconds.?

To date, voice biometrics authentication has been implemented in Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. It will be rolled out throughout the region in 2016 and 2017 to cover all 12 of Citi?s consumer banking markets in Asia Pacific that represent more than half of the bank?s 19 consumer markets globally.

Citi targets to be the first financial services firm to deploy voice biometrics authentication across Asia Pacific as the bank builds further on its successful innovation in retail banking in the region.

Citi has around 15 million consumer banking customers in the region and the bank expects to have at least 1,000,000 customers actively using voice biometrics authentication in the next 12 months. Within three years the bank expects the number of users to grow to 3,000,000.

Six years ago, the bank launched its new branch design ? called Smart Banking – in Asia for the first time. The Smart Banking concept involves using technology, architecture, and design and new retail channels to connect customers to their money and provide them with a better way of banking. Over 200 such branches have since been rolled out globally since the Asian launch.


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