Citi Launches Voice Biometrics Authentication for Asia Pacific Consumer Banking Customers

For Citi’s Consumer Banking customers in Asia Pacific, remembering multiple PINs and responding to a series of questions to verify their identities as they call into the bank will soon be a thing of the past.

Voice biometrics authentication has been implemented in Taiwan with Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore to follow in the upcoming weeks. It will be rolled out throughout the region in 2016 and 2017 to cover all 12 of Citi’s consumer banking markets in Asia Pacific that represent more than half of the bank’s 19 consumer markets globally.

Citi will be the first financial services firm to deploy voice biometrics authentication across Asia Pacific as the bank builds further on its successful innovation in retail banking in the region.

Citi has around 15 million Consumer Banking customers in the region and the bank expects to have at least 1,000,000 customers actively using voice biometrics authentication in the next 12 months. Within three years the bank expects the number of users to grow to 3,000,000.

Once available, customers who call into the bank’s contact centres will have their identity automatically verified within 15 seconds or less as they explain their reason for calling. This is a reduction from an average time of around 45 seconds currently or 66% less time spent verifying their details currently.

The voice biometrics authentication capability identifies customers through their voice print, which, similar to a fingerprint, is unique to each person. Citi clients can opt to enroll by recording their voices, which the bank will use to generate and store their voice prints for matching subsequent calls to Citibank. Each voice print will be uniquely tagged and cannot be reverse engineered once stored.

“The voice biometrics authentication capability underscores Citi’s focus on technology to better serve our customers. We know that remembering different PINs and answering multiple questions can make the process frustrating. With this new capability, we offer our customers a faster and more secure authentication for a better customer experience,” said Anand Selva, Asia Pacific Head for Consumer Banking, Citi.

“Biometrics will play a critical part in the future of banking and we are excited to be paving the way for Citi globally. Today, our call centers in Asia Pacific receive about 35 million calls annually, of which a large portion is manually verified. With voice biometrics authentication, we will make the verification process easier, faster, and more secure for clients,” said Rahul Joshi, Asia Pacific Head for Consumer Banking Operations, Citi.

Asia is an important region for innovation at Citi. Six years ago the bank launched its new branch design – called Smart Banking – in Asia for the first time. The Smart Banking concept involves using technology, architecture and design and new retail channels to connect customers to their money and provide them with a better way of banking. Over 200 such branches have since been rolled out globally since the Asian launch.