Online Banking By Voice

Your voice may be the best PIN.

Serendipity is the fortunate ability to gain knowledge from accidental events. This post is certainly a product of serendipity. On the recommendation of Kim Krause Berg, I purchased a book called Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks by Luke Wroblewski. Since Jared Spool, a usability expert I respect highly, was associated with the book, I felt sure it would be a good decision. .. and indeed it was.

I must admit Web Form Design was something I felt I should know more about, a necessary chore in being a well rounded Internet marketer. It was refreshing from the start to realize that the author too hated forms. They are inevitably an irritating step in achieving our real aim of buying a book or accessing our bank account. If you want to know more about making such Web Forms less irritating, then I can highly recommend this book.

I gained something more important from the book than what was contained within its pages. Clearly if experts in Web Form Design suggest we should try to work with minimal forms to reduce frustration, then the ultimate solution is to avoid the form entirely.

ATM Machine

Perhaps the best test ground for that is Online Banking, where security is a key concern. Even there, forms are becoming more elaborate with security in mind. For example the Bank of Montreal now includes an image for you to confirm as your own.

Once you decide to try to work without forms, then voice technology naturally comes to mind. Your voice can be the very best personal identifier. You will not forget it and it’s very difficult for anyone else to use it. That certainly was the message from the UK earlier in the year.

Ian Turner, general manager for Nuance’s operations in northern Europe, said: “By the end of next year, about 20 million people in the UK will be registered with some kind of system.” He said voice recognition can be 97 per cent accurate, but it is always used with some other form of identification, such as a password. He added that even good mimics cannot fool the system.

Now from India there is news that Yes Bank and Cisco are launching hi-tech phone banking services. The Yes Bank-Cisco Interactive Experience Centre at Gurgaon will provide communication over voice, chat and email. The bank’s customers will now be able to access their accounts 24X7 via ‘Yes touch’ phone-banking services that will support business-related queries and transactions.

The bank is now looking at launching a new telephonic voice identification system, called voice biometric, in collaboration with a US company in the next 12 months. “We have the technology for speech biometric and just need fine-tuning for Indian voice recognition and vocabulary, which will have 90 per cent accuracy,” Ravishankar, Yes Bank Country Head, Direct Banking, said.

Given the ongoing security concerns with traditional Web Forms for online banking, it may only be a short time before you will be talking to your online bank too.

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