Voice biometrics will become a key part of authentication technology in the coming years.

According to fraud prevention, authentication and transaction verification solutions provider ValidSoft, voice biometrics will be central to future payments authentication if obstacles to adoption can be overcome.

The company claimed that with the increase in smartphone usage for financial services highlights the need for banks, businesses and governments to take another look at methods of authenticating end-users. It claimed that it is no longer sufficient to merely secure hardware endpoints as organisations want assurances that the individual at that endpoint is the person he or she claims to be, and vice versa.

Pat Carroll, CEO of ValidSoft, said: “A multi-factor/four-factor approach to user authentication and transaction verification provides robust security without compromising customer experience and voice biometrics can play an important role in this.

“The four aspects of a person's identity that need to be checked are: something you are, namely your voiceprint; something you have which is your mobile phone; something you know, this will be your PIN or password; and somewhere you are (or not), which can be established using privacy-protected signalling services associated with the global mobile networks.”

He told SC Magazine that the day of two-factor authentication (2FA) being a panacea has long gone, yet it is still the gold standard. “I can see voice biometrics as leading part of infrastructure. Banks are taking this up but look at an expansion and a move to using phones as part of the transaction,” he said.

“There is no silver bullet, but with layered security technologies there is a strong future. If we do move to mobile payments then we need to get it right.”

Dan Miller from Opus Research predicted that the global number of registered voiceprints will increase from ten million today to over 25 million in 2015. He said: “Voice biometrics strikes the right balance of strong authentication and usability. It is a powerful tool for preventing fraud and promoting empowerment through self-service and will in the long run help financial institutions save money from fraudulent transactions and reduced administration costs.

“In a social, mobile environment, user authentication has become more important than ever in order to protect unauthorised access to corporate resources and to prevent fraudulent transactions.”