The contrast between these two scenes explains its usefulness: Scene 1. An 80-year-old client with mobility difficulties calls his bank to ask for a question or a procedure. The recording asks you to type your ID or password, find and enter a confirmation code… It is difficult for you to follow the instructions, you end up frustrated. In the end, you are not even sure what you have consented to.
Scene 2. That same client wants to check if they have received the pension. Dial the bank’s phone in Contacts. Instead of typing, the system asks you to repeat a simple phrase. Ready, the software instantly recognizes the previously recorded voice and confirms that it is from that customer and no other. Proceed, it gives you access to banking services, both personal care and self-service.
In a more advanced version of this Voice Biometrics application that Banco Sabadell already has, the user’s voice can serve as a signature or authentication to carry out procedures or confirm operations. For now, in this pilot phase the comfort of use already improves: the consultation calls are shorter and the identification process is reduced by around 30 seconds. A time that would increase with use.
The tool is twice a pioneer in Spain. Due to its technology, which the entity has developed together with Biometric Vox (startup What does he provide? software of remote identification and signature by voice) and Evolutio (the company in charge of operating the solution from the cloud), but it is also a precursor for its implementation through the government project of the sandbox.
A more humane banking facilitates access to financial services for all users in general, but the most vulnerable in particular
Pol Navarro, director of InnoCells, Banco Sabadell innovation hub
According to Pol Navarro, director of InnoCells, the hub Banco Sabadell innovation center, it is a controlled environment to develop financial products and services together with the regulator: the central government. “It works as a more flexible test space to check the use of new technological solutions, their legal implications and speed up the development of specific regulations to launch them much faster with all the guarantees.”
When will that commercial premiere? The first step is to test the technology in a limited way in the sandbox and, once validated, evaluate its potential mass opening. If you do not enter this controlled testing space, you could verify outside of it, technically you already have the solution and you would only need certain extra regulatory validations. Even so, the technology is already mature, it is one of the requirements to qualify for the sandbox and it has been tested by bank employees who are also customers.
Where is development going?
Three trends come together to accelerate the development of the solution. On the one hand, “a more humane banking that facilitates access to financial services, to everyone in general, but to the most vulnerable in particular, such as older people who have lost faculties or clients with vision, motor and cognitive difficulties” , explains Pol Navarro.
“An application like this makes your daily life easier, it allows a higher level of access than usual in mobile banking or in traditional phone calls if you have to digitize codes”, adds the director of InnoCells. It can also improve security by adding an extra layer of armor. “Remote voice recognition can hinder some of the most dangerous cyberattacks and social engineering tricks, such as the use of sensitive data obtained by hackers by impersonating a bank or service company. It can be combined as a double security requirement with the PIN number or a password ”, he explains.
Second trend: the growth of “conversational banking”, understood as technological applications that facilitate direct and personal relationships with the customer on digital channels. “In this sense,” Navarro continues, “solutions such as Vocal Biometrics are adapted to the present and the future, they foresee the evolution of society, the aging of the population. [de los 12 millones de clientes del Sabadell, 1,8 son mayores de 65 años], the digitization of services and, therefore, the need to reduce the digital divide and improve the inclusion of the most vulnerable ”.
Third trend: the pandemic has made digital services essential, first because of total confinement, then because of new habits or needs, such as shopping on-line or telework have taken root in a massive way. In the year that has elapsed since the emergence of the covid, Sabadell’s active digital clients have grown by 30%. And of all its active users, 70% browse mobile banking.