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The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), in partnership with speech software firm Nuance, has rolled out voice identification technology on its Grow by ANZ banking app.

The bank's customers can make "Pay Anyone" payments of more than AU$1,000 automatically, bypassing usual security measures such as visiting a branch in person. Voice ID can also be used to make BPAY payments of over AU$10,000.

"This is a significant security update that will make it easier for our customers to complete high-value transactions on their smartphones," said ANZ managing director of customer experience and digital channels Peter Dalton.

"Customers increasingly want the convenience of banking on their digital devices, and this solution delivers that with the added level of voice biometric security."

While initially only available on ANZ's Grow app, the bank intends to roll the technology out to its other digital channels.

ANZ announced its voice biometrics trial in April, kicking off the new technology with a pilot running with staff and select customers in May.

At the time, Dalton touted voice biometrics as the next step in making banking more convenient for customers while also strengthening security.

"One of the key challenges today for banking as the world becomes more digital is making it easier for customers to do what they want to do in a safe and secure way," he said previously.

"A person's voice has five to 10 times as many security points than other methods such as fingerprints, so we know this will improve security and be welcomed by our customers."

Speaking with ZDNet in April, Nuance Australia and New Zealand managing director Robert Schwarz said voice biometrics is a more secure method of identifying and authenticating the user or the account owner in the financial services sector.

"What ANZ Bank has done around implementing voice biometrics is going to have multiple benefits for their customers," Schwarz said. "First and foremost is the security side, by being able to secure some of these larger transactions. They're using it for a step-up authentication process, because voice is a lot more secure than a lot of the other modalities that are out there."

As a result of introducing voice biometrics on its mobile platform, Schwarz said ANZ will be able to leverage the technology to enable more customers to "self service" when it comes to authenticated transactions, which previously required human validation.

Nuance also recently partnered with Domino's to deliver its DRU Assist, an in-app artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistant that allows customers to order a pizza using their voice.

Powered by Nuance's Nina, Domino's DRU Assist engages with customers in human-like conversation via text or speech recognition. Beyond ordering, DRU Assist can converse with the customer about menus, ingredients, store locations, and operating hours from within the Domino's app.

This "conversational commerce" is where Schwarz sees the banking industry heading.

"It's got to be consumer driven, because consumers are now wanting to have better interfaces to the sorts of transactions that they want to do. They want that immediacy and they want to do it in a conversational way," he explained.

For the first half of the 2017 financial year, ANZ recorded AU$2.9 billion in after-tax profit, an increase of 6 percent year on year, on total revenue of AU$10.6 billion.

In its 2016 full-year results, ANZ posted AU$5.7 billion in statutory net profit, representing a 24 percent tumble year on year. At the time, the bank partially attributed the profit dive to its focus on competing in the "digital age".

(Source: zdnet.com)