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Barclays Launches Voice Security Technology to all Customers


Barclays has announced that it is introducing voice security technology to all customers, meaning its telephone banking service will be easier to use and more secure than ever.

This technology identifies the caller based solely on their voice – a highly secure method of identification that removes the need for security questions and passwords.

BUCK_Joanna_Lumley-1Each person’s voice is as unique as their fingerprint, made up of over 100 characteristics based on the physical configuration of the speaker’s mouth and throat. Therefore, when a customer calls up to use telephone banking, the technology will be able to identify them simply from the first few words that are spoken.

Not only will this make the process quicker – allowing customers to get on with their day – it will also create a greater barrier against fraud, due to the highly personal form of identification.

Mervyn Owen, Barclays Community Banking Director for South Wales, commented

“We can all relate to the frustration of forgetting a password at the crucial moment. Voice security can cut out that part of the call completely and, unlike a password, each person’s voice is as unique as a fingerprint.”

If a customer has forgotten their password, it takes two minutes on average to get through the alternative security measures. Voice recognition will speed up this process significantly.

Barclays pioneered this technology by offering the service to a limited number of customers in 2013 – the first bank in Europe to do so. The success of the trial means that they are now making it available to all customers, which will be rolled out in August 2016.

Mervyn Owen added,

“Barclays is constantly looking at ways to improve services for customers and make it easier for them to get things done quickly; this is the perfect example of technology that does exactly that. There’s no need for customers to change how they bank with us, or in fact do anything differently at all – just continue to use telephone banking in the same way. We’re committed to providing options so that our customers can choose how they want to bank with us and this is the latest iteration of that promise.”

To mark the roll-out of Barclays Voice Security technology – which uses a person’s unique voice as their password – the much-loved vocal tones of national treasure Joanna Lumley has been immortalised in a series of four 3D sculptures.

The sculptures were created from voice recordings of a selection of age-old British proverbial phrases, bringing to life the actress’ iconic voice. Each sculpture was created using over 8,000 individual vectors and required a bespoke laser to cut out the intricate shapes, taking over 180hrs to produce.

The preservation of Joanna Lumley’s voice comes as the bank becomes the first in the UK to offer this type of service to all its customers. Eliminating the need for traditional passwords, the offering uses over 100 unique frequencies and characteristics of the human voice to create a one-of-a-kind ‘voice print’ that allows you to swiftly access your accounts.

Joanna Lumley said:

“I may be able to remember scripts but when it comes to passwords, I’m absolutely hopeless! That’s why Barclays Voice Security is such a blessing, because all I have to do is talk – it’s just so much quicker and easier. Much less faff.

“The power of ones’ voice is remarkable. Each person has their own individual and distinctive ‘voice print’ and in my case, my unique voice is what helped set me apart. It steered my career and ultimately played a starring role in my success. So, while it does seem rather extravagant to have my ‘voice print’ immortalised, it’s amazing to know that it’s unique to me.”

Barclays offers a range of services that provide customers with choice and flexibility in the way they bank with us, including secure webchat via Barclays Mobile Banking and video banking via smartphone, tablet or computer, as well as in selected branches.