Barclays launched a new feature that enables customers to access its telephone banking using voice recognition, rather than PINs or passwords.

The deployment is a further sign of how biometrics as a means to secure account information and payments is gaining in popularity.

The bank said the service is secure because customers’ voice print cannot be imitated. Barclays said it will build up a customer’s unique voice print during a normal telephone banking call. The customer will then be asked if they want to register for the service.

If the customer is registered then they only need to say their account or membership number, and have a short conversation, to confirm identity and access their accounts. If customers don’t want to register then they can tell the bank to remove their voice print from its records.

The feature is open to users of the bank’s personal or premier accounts. In the FAQs, Barclays said the technology will work with customers who have a speech impairment. But if a customer’s voice changes, they might need to record a new voice print, it added.

Despite its adoption by Barclays, voice rarely features among user’s preference for biometrics when surveyed. Usually they opt for facial or fingerprint recognition.