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Frictionless Authentication Using Passive Voice Biometrics in Call Centers

Implementing frictionless authentication has become a top priority for many credit unions and community banks. Creating a seamless experience in the call center is an important goal for improving satisfaction levels. But achieving this objective requires the right technology and a solid plan for implementation. Here’s a look at what makes passive voice authentication the top choice.

The Current State of Authentication in Banking Contact Centers

Safeguarding accounts is a top concern for financial institutions since fraudsters are continuously searching for new ways to defeat commonly used security measures. The call center is a prime target for ID thieves using everything from stolen financial account data to social engineering to circumvent security. Banking contact centers have been adding more layers of security over the past couple of decades. However, this often means creating barriers that are cumbersome for legitimate callers to navigate.

What Is Frictionless Authentication?

Frictionless authentication is the process of verifying a user’s identity with minimal effort or interruption to their ability to carry out their desired action. Unlike traditional authentication methods that may involve answering security Q&A, entering passwords and PINs, or using physical tokens, frictionless authentication streamlines the validation process with seamless and non-intrusive technology. Passive voice verification is a prime example of frictionless or passwordless authentication in the call center.

The goal of frictionless authentication is to strike a balance between safety and usability, providing a seamless user experience without compromising account security. By reducing the cognitive load and time required for authentication, streamlined authentication methods can enhance user satisfaction, increase productivity, and reduce the likelihood of security breaches resulting from human error.

What Caller Verification Methods Have Banking Contact Centers Tried?

Let’s explore the current authentication methods. Each one has its own pros and cons from a security standpoint, but for now we will focus on the friction they introduce into the user experience.

Currently, many callers go through up to a minute and a half of knowledge-based authentication before a call center agent can even address the reason for the call. This is a high-friction process that most community financial institutions recognize as a problem for their callers. The following options enable authentication with less friction than traditional Q&A:

  • The use of one-time passcodes (OTP) or PINs falls into the category of verifying an individual based on what they have (access to a specific device). It requires a specific action on the caller’s part to complete the verification process and continue with the reason for their call.
  • Verifying callers through use of a mobile app can also take less time than security questions. However, because it still adds steps to the verification process (including a multi-step enrollment process) it is common for adoption rates to be much lower than desired.
  • Active voice biometric verification using a spoken passphrase also creates a challenge because it requires action on the part of the caller to enroll. In addition to setting up the spoken password, the caller must repeat it each time they call in.
What Makes Passive Voice Verification a Better Option for Frictionless Voice Authentication?

One of the key advantages of passive voice biometrics is its ability to operate in the background, providing continuous authentication without disrupting the user experience. By analyzing a caller’s unique vocal attributes, passive voice biometric software creates a unique voiceprint for each individual, all in the background of a natural conversational interaction with the contact center agent. This voiceprint serves as a digital signature, enabling secure and frictionless authentication across voice channels including live calls and IVR interactions.

Frictionless Enrollment Supports High Adoption 

Passive voice biometric verification for fraud prevention stands out for its ability to remove friction in both the enrollment process and in daily use. Most credit unions and community banks simply ask callers if they would like to enroll during a call and the creation of the voiceprint happens in the background with no special number to call or app to download. Enrollment rates are typically over 95% for this method, demonstrating the favorable attitude most callers have toward seamless voice authentication.

Depending on local laws, some financial institutions may choose to automatically enroll all customers or members if permission to record calls has already been granted. This means 100% of callers can be enrolled in passive voice authentication with zero friction. To understand what the rules are regarding the collection and use of voice biometric data in your state, review our whitepaper on biometrics and privacy laws and consult with your legal counsel.

What Is Passive Voice Authentication Like From the Caller’s Perspective?

After enrollment, authentication on subsequent calls is completely frictionless since verification occurs in the background during the initial seconds of natural conversation. A caller is able to simply speak with an agent about the reason they are calling and have their question or request addressed with no delays. For credit union members and community bank customers, it is like walking into a local branch and being immediately recognized and warmly greeted. This is a seamless process that delivers high satisfaction, helping the contact center rapidly improve caller experience metrics.

Connect with Illuma to learn more.

Article by Illuma. Illuma is a provider of CUNA Strategic Services, a business partner of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

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