Voice-directed payments tech is a revolution, if the security's right

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In many ways, when conversational engagement is everywhere it will resemble the immersive intelligent assistant experience from Star Trek.

In fact, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos credits the omnipresent computer featured in the series for the inspiration behind Alexa. But forget living in the Milky Way galaxy...a cloud of biometric authentication is what will transport us to our own, even better version of the real-time payments-enabled future.

Imagine yourself driving home from an evening out on the town when you suddenly realize that your credit card bill payment is due today.
What do you do? Do you pull over on the side of the road and log into your bank account to make the payment via your smartphone? Drive faster so you can get home and to a computer before midnight? Suffer the late payment fees?

Does this situation sound familiar? Well, one day in the not too distant future, you’ll be able to keep cruising down the road and tell “Alexa” – via voice-controlled, cloud-computing software built into your car – to handle the payment for you. Bill payments will become just-in-time payments.

The Amazons, Googles and Apples of the world are paving the way for our everyday reality to be shaped by continual voice interactions. In a decade, the dots in our world will be connected by virtual assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa. In the future, you’ll even be able to interact with personalized intelligent assistant services under the name you choose—whether that’s “Duckworth” or “Minnie.” To reach its full potential, this ubiquitous conversational engagement will expand into our financial lives, bolstered by each user’s banking and payment information.

Having your banking and payment details accessible to your personal virtual assistant will make it possible for you to easily pay, subscribe, buy, reserve, and more – to complete almost any transaction that requires your debit or credit card. Want to make a reservation at that fancy establishment that requires a deposit? Tell Duckworth to handle it. He can do so without your help, thanks to your card info being linked to your secure profile – your virtual payment card.

This type of fast, frictionless money movement is what we all want, but the only way to make it happen is if the security and authentication flow is effortless; and truly seamless authentication can only be achieved through biometrics.

Today, the higher the risk of a transaction, the more hoops for the accountholder. For a wire transfer, one typically goes to the bank, provides identification, swipes his or her debit card, enters the account pin, fills out a form and pays a fee – the money is transferred only after a not-so-instant process. The purpose for all of this hoop-jumping is to verify that the person initiating the wire transfer is actually the person who is authorized to do so.

The world of payments and transfers is changing to a world of real-time money movement. Money orders, cashier checks, and wire transfer forms will be replaced by instant transfers authorized with fingerprints, voice and facial recognition. Passwords, PIN numbers and physical cards will be benched and used only as backups. And waiting for a check to clear? Ancient history.

Today’s antiquated validation process will soon be replaced by a multi-factor, biometric authentication system. In a few years, even a venture capital firm will be able to easily make real-time, multi-million-dollar transfers to startups in the firm’s investment portfolio from almost anywhere, by saying just a few words. The power of multi-factor biometric authentication guarantees that, not only does the accountholder have the correct information to perform the transfer, but also that he or she is the one human being authorized to do so – all in one seamless process.

A parent who's out jogging will be able to transfer an exact dollar amount to her child studying at college when she receives a call via her smartwatch. It will happen immediately and with a few simple voice commands – no pen, clicks or keystrokes needed – all because she is enabled by a “cloud” of authentication that follows her from location to location, from device to device.

While conversational banking – using the spoken word to access and transact with financial institutions – will be available anytime, anywhere, the authentication process will include much more than your voice. Authentication will take into account your behavior, location data, device data, and multi-factor biometrics.

Imagine wearing a smartwatch that allows your virtual personal assistant to recognize your unique characteristics, ranging from your biometric pulse to your gait. These speechless biometric identifiers will enable authentication on an ongoing basis without requiring users to say a word. Relying on voice biometrics passively and actively, the system can eliminate financial fraud while thwarting social engineering. Only one person will be able to match his or her own combination of biometric identifiers.

Voice-activated software will be built into nearly every new gadget, vehicle and building, making multi-device triangulation a reality. The result? Convenience for the end user.

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Digital payments Voice Recognition Internet of things Biometrics Retailers ISO and agent