ANZ first bank to introduce voice biometrics for mobile banking in Australia

Tuesday 12 September 2017 | 13:07 CET | Background
ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) bank has recently introduced Voice ID technology for its mobile banking services. It follows the announcement in July that ANZ added Samsung Pay to its mobile payment service, now offering four different mobile payment services to its customers. According to a recent study by Forrester on functionality and usability of mobile banking, two other large Australian banks, CommBank and Westpac, offer the best mobile banking services in Australia. By introducing new services ANZ is clearly aiming to catch up with its competitors.

ANZ is one of the largest four banking groups in Australia, together with National Australia Bank, Commenwealth Bank (CommBank) and Westpac. Mobile banking has a high penetration in Australia, where these four banks dominate the banking market, and has grown tremendously over the last few years. The Australian banks have mostly taken the approach to bundle all their financial services in one app, instead of offering separate apps for separate services, which has most likely contributed to a high take-up of mobile banking.

During the last year mobile financial services in Australia saw an interesting challenge between the banks on one side and Apple on the other side. The banks asked for authorization from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to bargain with Apple for access to the NFC controller in iPhones, and reasonable access terms to the App Store. This access would enable the banks to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple’s digital wallet, without using Apple Pay.  The banks were denied authorisation by the ACCC. Apple Pay is currently only supported by ANZ for its Mastercard and Visa cards. Reportedly the other three are now also discussing with Apple to cut a deal.  

According to Forrester “many Australian banks offer mobile banking services with strong functionality and slightly above average usability. This is a result of digital teams having fostered strong relationships between their customer experience, digital business strategy, and technology management teams”. Forrester sees Commbank and Westpac offering innovative services such as setting up future payments or promoting products based on the customer’s recent purchases. 

ANZ's increases mobile banking security

ANZ’s new technology allows customers to make ‘Pay Anyone’ payments of more than AUD 1,000 on their mobile without needing to log into their internet banking or use additional passwords as well to make BPAY payments of over AUD 10,000 on their mobile (BPAY is an Australian electronic bill payment system). ANZ first piloted the technology and will start by adding it to their Grow by ANZ app. Then it will be rolled out to other digital channels across the bank. 

By being the first in Australia to add Voice ID technology, ANZ is not so much adding a new feature to its mobile banking offering, but it is making it easier for its customers to use mobile banking for larger amounts, while at the same time increasing the level of security by using voice biometrics. The more consumers start to use their smartphones for their banking activities besides checking their balances, the more security will be important for consumers.

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