End of the Pin number? ADCB to launch voice recognition service

Banks in the UAE are working overtime to find ways to distinguish themselves from competitors.

ADCB plans to launch biometric voice recognition technology. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National
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An Abu Dhabi bank hopes to win more customers by becoming the first local lender to introduce voice recognition technology.

It could spell the beginning of the end of the need to remember numerous telephone and ATM banking Pin numbers and security questions.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has raised the stakes in the battle for customers in the overcrowded retail banking with the planned launch of biometric voice recognition technology.

Banks are competing for new customers in a crowded marketplace with credit card perks such as air miles and discounts as well as mobile applications that make banking easier.

The biometric technology used by ADCB works by comparing the caller’s voice to a pre-recorded sample given by the client, ADCB said.

That will allow customers to get on the phone with a bank representative quicker while reducing the chances of fraud.

“In this competitive environment we need to make sure that customer convenience and ease of access are effectively balanced with information and transaction security,” said Ravi Nair, the head of customer experience at ADCB. “The voice biometrics technology will play a vital role in ensuring increased security and convenience at the same time, while making client calls shorter and reducing our overall cost to serve.”

Banks in the UAE are working overtime to find ways to distinguish themselves from competitors in an industry where product offerings are broadly similar.

Apart from pricing, banks are rolling out mobile phone apps to make banking more convenient for consumers who increasingly shun the branch to save time. This is an especially urgent task in the UAE because it has one of the highest penetration of mobile phones in the world and a time-conscious affluent expat population.

As a result of the shifting trend, banks are spending more on technology and less on their branch networks, often reducing the size of big branches and keeping new ones small.

ADCB is not the first bank to use voice recognition technology. Barclays has already tested voice biometrics with its richest customers, and will soon extend the technology to all its individual clients.

Voice identification has also been used by many governments but there have been concerns that banks are collecting voice data without the explicit consent of customers.


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