USAA adds face and voice verification to mobile banking app

Financial services group the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is to enable its members to use biometric authentication, including face and voice verification, to log in to their accounts on their smartphone. The function is expected to be available in early 2015.

United Services Automobile Association (USAA)“This extends the mobile app’s multi-factor authentication options to include a unique PIN, face and voice recognition — all of which work in conjunction with a security code generated by the app for each login,” the association explains.

“USAA’s facial recognition requires users to look at the screen and, when prompted, blink their eyes. For voice recognition, users must read a short phrase.”

The decision to launch biometric authentication across the US follows a successful pilot in California, Texas and Florida. In addition to the pilot states, the service is now rolling out to Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois.

“USAA is committed to cutting-edge solutions to make our members’ financial transactions as secure as possible,” says Gary McAlum, USAA’s chief security officer. “The use of multi-factor authentication through biometrics is one of the most effective ways to increase security protection as traditional passwords become increasingly obsolete.”

“The recent enhancements to the USAA mobile app highlights our focus on the member experience we deliver,” adds Carl Liebert, USAA’s chief operating officer. “We’ll continue to find and develop all solutions that can make the lives of our members simple, easy and more secure.”