Remember being fascinated by iris recognition, fingerprint scanning and voice analysis in movies like Men in Black, Mission: Impossible, and Minority Report? Thanks to new advancements, biometrics technology will soon transform the customer experience, too, allowing consumers to be identified based on their unique personal attributes.
In a new guest column for CRMXchange, Enacomm CEO Michael Boukadakis points out that “fraud, identity theft and data attacks are disproportionately plaguing our nation — breaches involving U.S. entities accounted for 41.1 percent of incidents worldwide, according to Risk Based Security.” Traditional forms of account authentication, Boukadakis explains, are no match for modern forms of fraud – but biometrics authentication can thwart sophisticated schemes. In the financial space, companies can use biometrics to control who has access to personal information and card data.
According to the article:
For organizations big and small, voice authentication is now a financially and operationally feasible application of biometrics technology…A voiceprint is distinctive like a thumbprint, but rather than an impression of the lines upon a fingertip being scrutinized, a sophisticated analysis of hundreds of voice characteristics is conducted. An algorithm is applied to break up and map each unique voice identity, which is then stored in an encrypted file. An individual can then be accurately identified and authenticated in real-time by matching particular characteristics of his or her spoken words every time he or she calls.
Not only will there be a significant increase in the adoption of biometrics to safeguard financial transactions, but the technology will also be used to improve everyday events such as turning on lights, starting a car, or buying coffee at Starbucks.
Boukadakis also recently penned a guest article for Paybefore, titled “A Soon-to-Be Must-Have: Biometrics Authentication for Customer Service.” Capturing the identity fraud crisis in numbers, the piece states:
There were more than 12 million identity fraud victims in 2012, and fraudsters stole nearly $21 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. This is about one victim every 3 seconds. Large data breaches provide account and personal information to fraudsters, who then use it to access individuals’ accounts. America leads the world in the number of payment card accounts, including prepaid, that have been breached. Business Insider reports that payment card breaches cost card issuers $3.4 billion in 2012 and merchants another $1.9 billion.
Boukadakis observes that “voice biometrics technology has improved along with the underlying communications channels, reducing the cost of a single authentication to pennies per instance. Compare this to the cost for a customer service representative to authenticate a customer, which could easily be $2.”
As part of an onboarding and authentication system, biometrics can be combined with advanced knowledge-based authentication. Voice biometrics authentication, in particular, is incredibly reliable and shouldn’t be compared or confused with voice recognition. A voiceprint is distinctive like a thumbprint, but even more reliable than fingerprinting with a 99.99 percent success rate. Of interest, fingerprinting can provide misleading results due to contextual bias. Making his case, Boukadakis provides an example of the FBI mistakenly matching a partial fingerprint found on a bag of detonators linked to the March 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid to Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield.
How are customers authenticated with voice biometrics? Using inbound or outbound calling, texts, a mobile application or Web browser. And voice authentication can be integrated with new or existing interactive voice response (IVR) and call center systems. When a customer calls the IVR, he or she can authenticate in real time, or if speaking with a customer service representative (CSR), the CSR can send the customer a text message with a “talk back” link. Alternatively, the cardholder could be connected to a mobile Web browser to authenticate. Because call centers and customer service reps don’t have to repeat account verification or identification questions, 20 percent or more of their time can be saved, resulting in reduced costs and a much-improved customer service experience.
While PINs and other authentication data can be breached, customers’ voices cannot be compromised or stolen. With heightened security concerns and the need for multiple methods of authentication, voice biometrics is one of the best ways to arm your organization against fraud.