News story

Voice ID showcases latest digital development for HMRC customers

HMRC is making it faster and simpler for customers to confirm their identity to access its services, however they choose to do it.

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Customers using the HMRC mobile app can already use their fingerprint to access their information. Now HMRC is introducing technology that will recognise a customer’s voice when they call.

Starting this month, some customers calling the tax credits and Self Assessment helplines will be able to enrol for voice identification (Voice ID), a move which will speed up the security steps customers are asked when calling HMRC.

The enrolment process is straightforward. The first time they call, a customer will be asked to repeat a vocal passphrase up to five times and then be passed back to an adviser to complete their call. The recorded passphrase will be securely stored and the customer can use their voice to confirm their identity in future, once the service goes live in the next few weeks.

This technology is well-proven and measures more than 100 different characteristics before determining a match, making it one of the most secure systems.

Director General for Customer Services, Ruth Owen, said:

Millions of our customers are choosing to use our digital services rather than picking up a phone or pen, with more joining them every day. But we know that not everyone can, or wants to, deal with us online, and so we’re continuing to improve our services across all contact channels. Voice ID is the latest example of the cutting-edge technology we are using to make it easier for people to manage their tax and tax credits.

HMRC will be encouraging customers who call to take advantage of the Voice ID service, but they can choose to opt-out and continue to use HMRC’s services in the usual way if they prefer.

Notes to editors

  • Enrolment for Voice ID will begin from January 2017. A capture process, to build the bank of passphrases, is needed to run this technology, which is why customers will not be able to use their Voice ID straightaway.
  • HMRC’s mobile app is available on Apple, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows devices through the relevant app stores.
  • Use of fingerprint identification for HMRC’s mobile app is device dependent and currently only available on Apple devices (Touch ID is available on the iPhone 5S and later models) and Android (device with fingerprint scanner running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above). HMRC plans to introduce this for the Windows version of its app during 2017.
  • Where customers use fingerprint identification on their smartphone HMRC does not receive or have access to any fingerprint data, HMRC’s app is making use of features that are native to the handset.
Published 18 January 2017