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Have you heard the word? ANZ customers embrace Voice ID

The use of voice identification by ANZ customers in New Zealand has leapt in the past year – reflecting an acceleration in adoption of the security technology, which allows customers to use phone banking without having to enter a PIN number.


“Around 50% of customers are using Voice ID to authenticate their identity when they phone our Contact Centre” says Ben Kelleher, ANZ NZ Managing Director, Personal Banking.


“That compares to just over 30% a year ago.”


815,000 customers have enrolled for ANZ’s Voice ID since it was introduced in September 2017. That is one in six New Zealanders.


“The feedback we’ve been getting is that many customers prefer Voice ID because they think it's easier to use.”



Like fingerprints, we all have unique voices with distinctive tones and speech patterns."

Ben Kelleher, Managing Director, Personal Banking, ANZ NZ.



Voice ID matches a customer’s voice to their pre-recorded voice print. Instead of a PIN, a customer just has to say their customer number or the phrase "My voice confirms my identity".


“We have seen up to 34,000 customers per month enrolling for Voice ID” says Mr Kelleher.


“At this point we are probably second only to IRD in offering the largest voice recognition service in New Zealand.”


The human voice is as unique as a finger print. The voice identification system confirms a customer’s identity by analysing their voice’s unique characteristics.


“Like fingerprints we all have unique voices with distinctive tones and speech patterns” says Mr Kelleher.


A voiceprint includes more than 100 unique physical and behavioural characteristics.


Physical characteristics include lung capacity and the shape of a person’s vocal chords.


Behavioural characteristics include accent, pronunciation and the way each person emphasises words.


Biometrics company Nuance worked with ANZ to develop the product. It says that voice identification makes it easier for legitimate customers and callers and virtually eliminates access by fraudulent callers.


Voice technology is also helping improve and speed up customer calls.


“When people phone us our automated system will ask them to say what they are calling about. It could be anything from a term deposit inquiry to a mortgage application. The system analyses our customers’ requests and then decides which of our banking experts is best to support those needs”” says Mr Kelleher.


“The goal is to ensure customers get their answers as quickly as possible. The system is constantly improving, saving time for customers and easing the workload for our staff.”


Voice identification is part of what’s known as biometric identification; the use of unique physical or personal traits (like a voice, fingerprint or face) to verify someone’s identity.


Fingerprint or face recognition is increasingly being used by people to access their devices and banking apps.


Biometric technology is likely to grow in importance in the next few years.


“We’re starting to investigate the possibility of extending Voice ID to other channels” says Mr Kelleher.


One possibility could be payments.


“I could imagine people one day using their voice to pay at a terminal, rather than having to use a card” says Mr Kelleher.


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