HSBC isn't the first to introduce biometric banking in the UK, but its rollout is set to become the biggest. The financial giant today announced plans to introduce voice-recognition technology for telephone banking, allowing more than 15 million customers to do away with memorable dates and places.
HSBC's "Voice ID" security is underpinned by Nuance, which already supplies its tech to Apple and other major smartphone makers, and works by matching "over 100 unique identifiers" in a person's voice. It can also recognise speed, cadence, pronunciation and differentiate between the shape of a user's larynx, vocal tract and nasal passages.
Back in May 2014, Barclays debuted its own biometric security, which allows business customers to log into their accounts with their fingerprint. It also offers voice access, but only to a small number of customers. Alongside Voice ID, HSBC's iOS mobile banking app will drop passcodes and PINs in favour of Touch ID fingerprint authentication, while Android users miss out.
HSBC says it will open Voice ID signups to First Direct bankers in the "coming weeks." HSBC will follow in the summer. To opt-in, customers simply supply their "voice print" and they'll no longer have to recite those annoying security questions.