The new changes aim to combat fraud and identity theft.
The new system, Safaricom said in a statement to the press, "will enable customers to access services through a quicker and less intrusive vetting process.”
The system known as Jitambulishe will require customers to identify themselves using their voices before accessing their M-PESA PINs and any PUK requests.
How the system will work
A pre-recorded registration process will take place for all Safaricom customers.
To activate the service, the customer’s voice patterns are captured and used to create a unique “voiceprint” (similar in concept to a fingerprint), storing it as a secure string of numbers and characters. These attributes help identify and verify callers when they call for customer care.
In order to ensure no hacking will occur, there will be no reverse engineering which may put the system at risk of being hacked.
The voice recordings will not be stored either.
“We are redesigning our customer care approach to remain in line with shifting trends in the market and to take advantage of emerging technologies,” said Mr Joseph Ogutu, Director – Strategy, Safaricom.
Benefits of the system
The voice prints of the customers will aim to reduce fraud and identity theft as well as ensure faster and more efficient services provided to customers.
“Our contact centre agents spend a greater portion of their call time verifying customers over phone. The introduction of this service will ensure that customers get faster and more accurate services. We anticipate that the number of fraud incidents shall also reduce as a result,” said Mr. Ogutu.
Other services offered on the Voice biometrics system include the recently launched M-PESA for the Visually Impaired solution.
By dialling 100 or 234, visually impaired customers can identify themselves by their voices before having their M-PESA balances read out to them. Safaricom plans to gradually introduce more M-PESA services through the system.