Virginia Credit Union Taps Nuance Voice Biometrics

Virginia Credit Union has launched Nuance Communications' voice biometrics technology in its call center to authenticate members by the unique sound of their voice.

The program, called VACU Voice ID, analyzes members' unique behavioral and physical voice characteristics to establish and confirm their identities when they call the credit union to conduct business.

Virginia Credit Union, a member-owned financial cooperative with more than 251,000 members, sought a solution that offered increased security yet was fast and convenient. The service, which is available to all members, can be used to authenticate a members' identities without requiring PINs, passwords, and security questions.

Once a VACU member is enrolled in the optional Voice ID service, each time he calls, Nuance's FreeSpeech voice biometrics technology analyzes his voice to compare it with the unique voiceprint on file. The system signals the call center representative in real time when the member's identity has been confirmed so that the query or request can be resolved seamlessly.

Voice biometrics measures more than 140 voice characteristics, including the size and shape of a person’s mouth, vocal tract and diaphragm, as well as the speed of speech and pronunciation, to create a voiceprint that is totally unique to each individual.

"Just as everyone has their own unique fingerprint, each person's voice is unique too. This system measures the unique characteristics of a voice, so it creates a digital voiceprint that can be used to authenticate a member's identity without requiring a list of security questions," said Tim Kelly, executive vice president of member services at Virginia Credit Union, in a statement.

"Today, customer expectations for effortless, effective, and secure service from the companies they do business with are higher than ever before," said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the enterprise division at Nuance, in a statement. "Through voice biometrics, Virginia Credit Union is not only streamlining the experience for customers but also tightening security. For members, verifying their identity will now be a natural and intuitive process that simultaneously offers proven fraud prevention."

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