For some of us, it feels like it wasn’t long ago that banking went online.
But the days of passwords and login details are already ‘so last season’, it seems, as HSBC and first direct today announced the new era in banking security – biometrics.
The banks are rolling out touch ID as well as the largest planned rollout of voice biometric security technology the UK has seen.
By the summer, more than 15m customers in the UK will be able to benefit from the technology.
It will allow them to access their accounts – mobile app and telephone banking – through technology uses the unique characteristics of your body, specifically voice and fingerprint, to verify your identity.
HSBC UK’s head of retail banking and wealth management, Francesca McDonagh said: “This is the largest planned rollout of voice biometric security technology in the UK, and demonstrates our continued investment in digital innovation and focus on making our services even more convenient for our customers.
“The launch of voice and touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account, using the most secure form of password technology – the body.”
The move by HSBC and first direct comes as YouGov research revealed that 37% of consumers agreed that traditional passwords have become outdated as a security measure.
According to the research 38% of people said they tend to use the same password across most of their online accounts, and 55% said they rarely update their passwords – both risky moves when it comes to security.
The same research found that 78% are already confident their body is unique enough to be used as a password, while 74% said it will become the default password of the future – good news for the banks already introducing it.
Tracy Garrad, chief executive of first direct, said: “The research shows Brits are increasingly demanding a simple alternative to traditional passwords.
“While technology has evolved at pace, the security measures we use in everyday life have not kept up with the rate of change.
“Our voices and fingerprints are unique, with physical and behavioural characteristics almost impossible to mimic.
“While this is the largest rollout of voice ID in the UK banking, other industries will soon follow our lead.”
Angela Sasse, director of the UK Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security, added: “Research tells us that people in Britain are tired of traditional passwords and ready for a change.
“Today’s announcement signals a shift in the right direction; as essential services such as banking become accessible via less effortful and secure authentication technologies, consumers will expect that other day-to-day services make security easier for them, and biometric solutions such as this one will play a leading role in that.”
The voice technology being used by HSBC and first direct cross-checks someone’s voice against more than 100 unique ‘identifiers’ and includes behavioural features such as speed, cadence and pronunciation, as well as physical aspects like the shape of larynx, vocal tract and nasal passages.
For customers who opt in, they enrol their ‘voice print’ then no longer need to remember a password or PIN.
first direct will start enrolling customers for voice ID in the coming weeks, followed by HSBC by the summer.
The banks have also introduced touch ID, which uses Apple technology to allow consumers to access banking apps by scanning their fingerprint in the same way they would unlock their phone.
Touch ID is available on all Apple mobile devices for both banks and customers just need to download the mobile banking app and follow the instructions to link their fingerprint.
Atom, the UK’s first digital bank, has previously announced that biometric technology will be among the range of login options for its customers.