Brett Beranek is Vice President & General Manager, Security Business at Nuance Communications. He is
a biometrics and customer experience (CX) expert fascinated by transformative technologies. Brett works with Nuance’s financial institution and telecom clients around the globe to deploy state of the art security technology while maintaining an exceptional customer experience for end-users. Brett recently spoke with About-Fraud regarding Nuance Security Suite and the voice biometric technology that lies at the core of this anti-fraud solution.
BB: Nuance is well known for its biometric solutions, which banks, telecoms, retailers and other organizations use in their contact centers to authenticate customers quickly and without friction. These same technologies are extremely effective at detecting and preventing fraud. In 2018, Nuance customers saved more than $1 billion in fraud costs. While Nuance may be new to About-Fraud readers, we have more than 500 deployments globally and our clients include many of the world’s most recognizable brands.
RS: There are a lot of different types of biometric solutions out there, why should financial institutions put their money into a voice-based solution?
BB: Voice is an important customer communications channel, and this is why it’s still a primary target for fraudsters. Organizations trust voice biometrics because it’s proven and tested at being extremely effective at detecting and preventing fraud in the contact center.
This said, however, fraudsters don’t limit themselves to voice communications only and therefore organizations’ fraud defenses can’t either. This is precisely why Nuance’s biometrics solutions span voice and digital channels, including web, chat, and apps.
RS: Give us some sense of scale, how often are call centers responding to potential fraud and how often does fraud actually occur through a financial institution’s call center?
BB: FIs that operate contact centers should be forewarned: Experts like Gartner consider them to be among weakest links in fraud prevention.
A good example is the Royal Bank of Scotland, a Nuance biometric solutions client. In less than a year, it screened 17 million inbound calls. Of those, 23,000 led to alerts, and the bank found that 1 in every 3,500 was a fraud attempt.
RS: What is Nuance’s biometric solution called and how does it help organizations deter fraud?
BB: Nuance Security Suite is the company’s comprehensive, layered approach, powered by advanced AI, that thwarts omni-channel fraud through voice, face or behavioral biometrics. Through the introduction of ConversationPrint™ – the first technology of its kind to hit the market – combined with the development of Intelligent Detectors, the new solution empowers organizations to analyze every facet of each customer interaction. From behavioral and voice biometrics, to device identification and geo location, Security Suite detects the difference between a true user and an imposter at an unprecedented level across voice and digital channels.
RS: Is Nuance’s solution oriented more towards reducing false positives and customer friction or cutting down on false negatives, i.e. fraudsters’ getting through? Which is more important to clients?
BB: We allow our customers to tune their application for a target risk level, using a risk-based decisions approach to balance between the level of security and customer experience. The platform also enables setting the risk level for different applications or use case, so clients can decide what risk level they would like to apply at each point. For example, you might want to be less restrictive for low-risk transactions (e.g. checking an account balance) but apply more security for higher-risk transactions (e.g. transferring money).
RS: Can the data generated by the Nuance Security Suite be used to prevent fraud in other channels besides financial institutions’ call centers? Can the Nuance Security Suite be used as an element within third-party anti-fraud platforms?
BB: Nuance Security Suite includes voice as well as behavioral, facial and other forms of biometrics. This means it can be used to prevent fraud in voice and digital channels in different verticals, including financial services, telecoms, insurance, healthcare and others.
The Nuance Security AI engine (a component of Nuance Security Suite) was designed to eliminate the complexity of managing the different authentication and fraud prevention factors. It generates authentication and risk scores based on the input factors, so it can also take into consideration third-party factors as well as being used as an element within third-party platforms.
RS: Based on your current customers to-date, how big an impact can financial institutions expect on their operating costs and/or bottom line by implementing Nuance’s solution?
BB: The savings and ROI are significant. In the case of the Royal Bank of Scotland, it had a 300% return on investment in the first 12 months. While their goals weren’t just aimed at reducing losses, they have already saved one a half times the amount of money they expected to save by implementing the solution
We have another client that is a major multinational bank and saved nearly $18 million in potential fraud losses using our solution over 36 months. The bank also utilized Nuance Security Suite to drive an additional $4 million in operational efficiency savings through authentication in the interactive voice response systems (IVR) and IVR call containment.
RS: Are there any differences in how different geographical markets use voice biometrics?
BB: Since voice biometrics is agnostic to language or accent, different geographical markets can use it the exact same way. We do see a difference in the adoption level due to latest privacy regulations that sometimes create a barrier, delaying the adoption of biometrics technologies in some countries. Our approach, however, is to ensure clients in all regions can deploy our technology while meeting compliance and catering to customers of all languages.
RS: What is something that today’s most popular fraud solutions and financial institutions fraud managers overlook?
BB: An important consideration is not just preventing fraud but actually eliminating the fraudsters. Nuance helped The Royal Bank of Scotland identify a prolific fraudster that was connected to suspect logins on 1,500 bank accounts. That helped protect potential fraud victims as well as identify the mules being used by the crime network to perpetrate fraud. The two arrests to-date have literally taken bad guys off the street.
Another point is to think omni-channel: Fraudsters are similar to water flowing downhill – they’ll target whichever communications channel is easiest. Ensure that your voice and digital channels have the same levels of protection that your physical branches do.
Note too that better security doesn’t require treating your legitimate customers like criminals. Biometrics is uniquely capable of blocking fraud while delivering better customer and agent experiences.
Finally, financial institutions should look at fraud as more than just a financial or reputational risk. There’s a social impact too when crime rings or terrorist groups finance themselves using illicit proceeds and bank accounts. There is where eliminating fraudsters can have a dramatic benefit.