Apple iPhone
HSBC said it will offer the system to its customers over the next few weeksReuters

HSBC has unveiled plans to introduce a voice and fingerprint recognition system for its internet banking customers, as it described the decision as a very important step towards the launch of biometric banking.

The FTSE 100 lender said approximately 15 million of its customers, starting with First Direct, will be offered the system over the next few weeks, which will allow them to log into their accounts without having to memorise a password or memorable places and dates.

"The launch of voice and touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account, using the most secure form of password technology – the body," said Francesca McDonagh, HSBC UK's head of retail banking and wealth management.

McDonagh added that the introduction of voice and fingerprint recognition was "the largest planned rollout of voice biometric security technology in the UK", indicating touch ID was already available on all Apple mobile devices for both HSBC and First Direct customers.

Users simply have to download the lender's mobile banking app and follow the on-screen instructions to link their fingerprints to their bank accounts, while customers wishing to use the voice recognition feature will have to record their "voice print".

The voice biometric technology, which is supplied by Nuance Communications, will then cross-check the "voice print" against more than 100 unique parameters, which range from physical aspects such as the shape of larynx, vocal tract and nasal passages to behavioural features such as cadence, pronunciation and speed.

Barclays has already introduced a similar feature but it is so far only available to corporate clients.