Barclays Wealth is to start using a voice recognition system developed by the company behind Apple's Siri for its phone banking. Called Nuance FreeSpeech, it can check to see if a person is who they say they are, via voice recognition, and then inform the Barclays employee.

This means no more difficult-to-answer security questions, all Barclays Wealth users will need to do is chat to the person on the other end of the phone banking line. Barclays Wealth is the private banking sector of the company, but there are plans to roll out the FreeSpeech software across all other sectors.

“Intrusive security questions have now been replaced by customers simply speaking, in their natural voice, to the banking agent – the customer’s voice is verified after less than a minute making the authentication process quick and secure,” said Barclays Wealth.

The technology should dramatically speed up and simplify the process behind phone banking. Barclays is known for its emphasis on tech, with its smartphone app being particularly impressive.

“We’re in the midst of a rapid evolution in customer service today, as people demand more natural, human interactions when they seek service and support.”

“Voice biometrics technology allows organisations such as Barclays to redefine their customer service experiences through a more intuitive and transparent authentication process, easing the burden on both customers and service agents.” said Robert Weideman of Nuance.

The next issue to fix is the customer service itself. No amount of voice-recognition technology will make being stuck on hold trying to get through to a call centre any more enjoyable.