One thing has become abundantly clear in the wake of traumatic data breaches from Neiman Marcus, Target and many other corporations who have felt the hacker sting: the security measures we use to protect personal data just aren’t good enough.

U.S. Bank, in response to the mounting problems, is playing with new technology that goes beyond chips and PIN numbers. U.S. Bank’s pilot test comes as a reaction to the veritable explosion of mobile-device use for banking, as cell phones and tablets are utilized for an ever-growing percentage of banking transactions.

Speed and ease are also factors – instead of having to use forgettable (and stealable) identity numbers and passwords, customers potentially need only to speak into the receiver to access their accounts.

The pilot study came together in a Minneapolis branch wherein employees are test-driving custom, spoken passphrases like “my voice is my password” in order to get into their accounts via mobile devices. Such an entryway into personal accounting is intended to address the growing dissatisfaction consumers are feeling with traditional methods, according a press release from U.S. Bank.

The Minneapolis testing phase is an expansion of a partnership between U.S. Bank and Nuance Communications founded in April of 2013. At the point of the partnership’s founding, voice recognition wasn’t used for biometric security yet – experiments were under way for voice navigation of automated menus for mobile phones. Users could use their voices to do things like search their transactions, make payments and view account balances.

The field of identifying voice biometrics is a distinctive identifier that will aid U.S. bank in improving the customer experience, explains a press release issued by Dominic Venturo, the chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank Payment Services. Venturo went on to say that customers now expect to be able to use their voices on their smartphones for an array of uses – exploring biometric data to help secure banking information is a natural extension of this.

“Innovative organizations like U.S. Bank recognize that voice biometrics can bring a new level of convenience and security to the customer service experience,” says Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division. “By eliminating the interrogation process that consumers are typically put through and replacing it with a natural, conversational voice interaction, companies can really start to reinvent their customer service experience.”

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