U.S. Bank Testing Voice-Based Biometrics for Mobile Financial Services (Jan. 30, 2014)
U.S. Bank is testing a voice-based biometrics mobile banking feature that could foreshadow the future of mobile payments if consumers warm up to it, Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer at U.S. Bank, told attendees today at the Card Innovation Summit in Tempe, Ariz. U.S. Bank in September piloted a mobile app enabling users to use voice commands to check their balances, payment due dates and move funds between accounts.
“We’re working on voice biometrics that make it so there’s no need for consumers to manually enter a user name and password when accessing financial services on their smartphones, which would solve some big problems,” Venturo said. Other promising biometric approaches include fingerprint and facial recognition and systems to detect vein patterns in the hand, Venturo added. U.S. Bank is moving very cautiously with biometrics, but steadily testing new mobile banking and payments technologies because the pressure to give consumers faster, more convenient and secure mobile services is so intense, according to Venturo. “With 34 percent of the U.S. population now between 18 and 34—younger consumers we call ‘digital natives’— payments have to go mobile to keep up with the demands of our changing demographics,” he said.
Consumer trust in biometrics is the big challenge, as fewer than half of consumers would trust any organization with their biometric information, according to a new report Javelin Strategy & Research released today. But Javelin says banks have a big advantage here, as 45 percent of consumers said they would trust banks more than any other type of company with their biometrics. Javelin polled 3,200 U.S. adults online in September 2013 for its report. After banks, 31 percent of consumers said they would trust health care organizations most with their biometric information, followed by 21 percent who would trust the government most. Merchants ranked near the bottom, with only 6 percent of consumers willing to trust online merchants most with their biometric information, followed by 5 percent who would entrust their biometrics with retailer at the POS and 2 percent who would trust social networking organizations. Only 4 percent of consumers said they would trust digital wallet providers like Google Wallet most with their biometric information. The data suggest banks have a clear opportunity to partner with merchants to pave the way to widespread acceptance of biometrics in payments, Javelin concluded.