OCBC claims to be first Singaporean bank to use voice recognition for transactions

By Judith Balea for TechinAsia

OCBC Bank has been busy launching a string of firsts to ride the fintech boom. It just announced it has deployed voice recognition solutions to make it easier for customers to access different services.

One of the solutions is voice biometrics, which customers can use to check accounts, card balances, latest transactions, and status of deposited checks. The voiceprint replaces PINs, one-time passwords, and security questions that the bank’s contact center requires.

To enroll a voiceprint, customers are asked to say a specific phrase crafted by the bank, called a passphrase, three times. This is then stored in the system’s database.

OCBC piloted the solution among a targeted group of customers in September, and will roll it out to all customers by the fourth quarter of this year, the bank says. It claims it will be the first to do so in Singapore.

OCBC also claims that in April, it became the first bank in the city-state to launch speech recognition at its contact center.

With speech recognition, a customer can describe his or her inquiry in a more precise manner, and perform transactions quickly. The solution replaces the lengthy process of entering options on the phone keypad to get to the service the customer requires. It also avoids instances of customer calls being transferred to the wrong agent.

“With voice biometrics, customers will be able to get faster access to banking services as there is no longer a need for customer service agents to ask a series of personal questions for verification, which can be frustrating for customers as they need to recall numerous answers,” explains Praveen Raina, OCBC senior vice president and head of Regional Contact Center. “Speech recognition has been very well-accepted by our customers as it cuts down the time a customer takes to get help.”

Today’s announcement comes only three days after OCBC introduced open application programming interfaces (APIs) that’ll allow external developers to build apps based on the bank’s data. The APIs are for the lists of OCBC’s branches, locations, and opening hours, as well as information on credit card perks and currency exchange rates.

Weeks earlier, the bank also introduced the use of Touch ID to authorize transactions on its app, which it said was also a first.

First appeared at TechinAsia