Customers at one of Australasia's biggest banks will soon be able to make transactions using just their voice, as a new security system is introduced to help prevent fraud.
ANZ today announced it would be the first Australasian bank to introduce voice biometrics.
The new system, which will identify a person using the characteristics of their speech, is designed to improve security on mobile devices for higher value transactions.
Concerns were raised last year about online security after a sophisticated cyber attack hijacked New Zealand and Australian customers' banking apps with the aim of giving hackers control of accounts.
In its 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, software company Symantec also said it uncovered a new Android phishing Trojan which "tricks users into entering their banking credentials by popping up a fake login page on top of legitimate banking apps".
Voice biometrics will be introduced to ANZ customers from the middle of this year, with Australian customers the first to be able to use their voice to automatically authorise payments of more than $1000 through the bank's mobile apps.
An ANZ spokeswoman told the Herald the New Zealand ANZ banking sector would first be rolling out voice biometrics to its customer contact centres by mid-year.
"We're also looking at other channels where this tool will enhance security, including our GoMoney app," she said.
Currently customers need to use internet banking or visit a branch to complete
transactions of more than $1000.
ANZ managing director of customer experience and digital channels Peter Dalton today said voice biometrics was the next step in making banking more secure and convenient.
"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.
"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."
He said the technology is now "so advanced" that it can tell the difference between identical twins or a voice recording.
"We also know that people are becoming more comfortable with using their voice to do basic commands on their devices, so we see this is a natural extension of current technology and we are expecting this to be a popular enhancement of our mobile apps."
He said ANZ has been working closely with world-leading voiceprint and biometrics company Nuance.
An initial test using voice biometrics will begin with ANZ staff and select customers in May using the Grow by ANZ mobile app. The service will then be rolled out to ANZ goMoney and other digital services progressively.
Former Aucklander Shayne Elliott, ANZ's group chief executive for Australia and New Zealand, tweeted, "voice security is the future. Easy, secure, elegant".