How Voice Biometric Technology is Preventing Payments Fraud

by Rotem Shemesh 0


In 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud which is a record high, according to Javelin. Many hackers are looking to target banks, credit card companies and payment providers as America is quickly moving to a cashless economy powered by e-payments and digital wallets. As this trend continues, it’s more important than ever for payment companies to have the right protections in place. Biometrics is one of the best ways to protect sensitive customer information because it takes into consideration distinct characteristics that are unique to each person – whether it’s a fingerprint, voice command or facial recognition.

How Fraudsters are Taking Advantage of Real-Time Payments 

Payment companies are looking to reduce fraud, but it can be difficult to spot suspicious activity. One of the most common ways a fraudster can impersonate a customer is by calling the telco operator to request to port a number from another operator. The operator may fail to ask certain authentication questions, and in a few simple steps, the fraudster can now receive messages that were originally intended for the victim. Now that the hacker receives the victim’s messages, they have two options:

  1. They can take advantage of payment services like Zelle that allow for the transferring of money from one account to another in a matter of minutes. They can register for Zelle on behalf of the victim by using the stolen mobile number and then transfer money into their own account.
  2. The fraudster can also ask for a new password for the bank account which is sent to their phone. They can then go in and reset the login information to take money from the victim’s account.

These things are usually done late at night so the customer does not have time to notice before the money is transferred.

This is the reality we face living in a world of real-time payments. It used to take about 24 hours until a transfer could be completed, but now it can happen within seconds. This makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to keep track of their money as they may only check their account every couple of days. If it’s not an alarming amount of money being moved, say $100 dollars at a time, it might be hard to detect. Luckily for banking customers, biometric technology is advancing and tools like voice biometrics will help prevent such fraud.

Putting Your Voice to Work 

Voice biometrics is one of the best ways to prevent the type of fraudulent activity mentioned above. Voice biometrics can be used for authentication when a customer calls the contact center or the IVR, and when completing actions via a mobile application.

A person’s voice is a unique identifier. In the cases described above, the use of voice biometrics in order to login to the Zelle app, or in order to reset the bank account password would prevent a hacker from being able to reset a password or transfer money. This technology can validate the identity of the user or the caller by detecting voice patterns that produce unique identification for every individual using more than 100 physical and behavioral factors. This includes pronunciation, emphasis, speed of speech, accent, as well as physical characteristics of your vocal tract, mouth and nasal passages. Voice biometrics also improves the customer experience because you no longer need to ask a laundry list of security questions. The enrollment and authentication are done seamlessly, once customers give their consent.

At the end of the day, financial institutions want to ensure they’re protecting their customers while offering them a positive customer experience. Voice biometrics is a great way to achieve this and can actually help banks and payment providers cut costs by reducing customer service call times with agents and leveraging self-service channels instead. We see the biometrics space evolving over the next few years and payment companies should stay abreast of new developments that might make sense to implement into their everyday operations.