Nuance Powers Tangerine Banks’ Speech Enabled-Virtual Assistant, Voice Biometrics

Toronto-based Tangerine has deployed speech technology from Nuance Communications, enabling customers to perform routine bank transactions via the bank’s mobile app. At the end of this month, clients will also be able to verify their identities using voice biometrics.

Tangerine’s Mobile Banking app provides information, answers questions, and follows directives, such as asking for an account balance or paying a MasterCard bill. In addition to voice biometrics, the app also offers a fingerprint authentication feature, Touch ID, for clients with iOS 8-enabled devices.

"I'm very excited at Tangerine incorporating biometric authentication and voice to its smartphone-based service," says Dan Miller, founder and senior analyst at Opus Research. "The Tangerine implementation also demonstrates that banks are not going to rely on a single biometric to support simple, mobile authentication. It may look like hedging, but multifactor authentication, including multiple biometrics, is destined to be the norm." 

The alliance with Tangerine follows on the heels of September’s signing between Nuance and ING Netherlands offering a voice-controlled mobile app, the first of its kind in Europe. ING Netherlands already has 1.9 million of its 8 million customers using the bank’s mobile banking app.

To date, the largest deployment using Nuance’s biometrics solution is by Banco Santander Mexico. Approximately 2 million of the bank’s customers’ voiceprints have been enrolled in Nuance’s voice biometrics solution. The solution is used in Banco’s the contact center rather than a mobile app as is the case with ING Netherlands and Tangerine.

With more than 45 million voiceprints, Nuance has become the biggest voice biometrics solution provider in the world, and is particularly upbeat about the future of voice biometrics used in mobile applications. "We have enough proof points to know that this is transforming how people bank," says Brett Beranek, senior principal solutions marketing manager at Nuance.

"The sheer volume of voice biometric authentications will increase at an incredible rate," he says. "The key reason is that a customer typically calls into a contact center maybe once a year, whereas when they authenticate through a banking app, perhaps several times a month. We're excited by the acceleration that we expect mobile to bring to voice biometrics. We're seeing a lot of traction on the mobile side. It's definitely a trend."

Miller agrees. "Financial services companies around the world have been conducting some significant proof-of-concept projects for a number of years and are poised to make leading-edge offers to their high-value and mobile clients," he says.

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