Authentication and Fraud Prevention Solutions—Omni-channel customer engagement success stories

Riyad Bank first in Middle East with Nuance voice banking.

Customers get easier, secure access to their accounts by voice.

Company profile

Riyad Bank, established in 1957, is one of the largest financial institutions in Saudi Arabia ( a new window)). Riyad Bank became the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to use natural language understanding and voice biometrics allowing customers to authenticate using their voice and access services through conversational speech – in both Arabic and English.

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Riyad Bank logo
Voice authentication and natural language understanding is just the beginning. Soon, our customers will be able to use their voice for everything.

Shrouq Al-Hadyan
Senior Vice President Digital Banking
Riyad Bank


When customers contact companies After sixty years as one of Saudi Arabia’s largest financial institutions, Riyad Bank had a traditional approach to its customer experience. Calls to its contact center required PINs and complex menu trees before the customer reached an agent—leading to long wait times, and hassle for the customer

Riyad Bank wanted to transform their phone banking with a differentiated customer experience. It no longer wanted to be seen as a traditional bank, and with the right technology it could create a better experience.

The bank wanted to find an easy-to-use authentication process that allowed it to verify customers with only their voice, access their accounts and services easily, and spend less time waiting for an agent. With no other banks in the region adopting voice biometrics or natural language understanding, the bank’s team had their reservations—but they knew they needed to become pioneers in the industry.

Nuance’s Security Suite is trusted by hundreds of organizations around the world, operates in a wide range of languages, and securely verifies the identity of millions of people every day. It was an ideal solution for Riyad Bank—and the project was a huge leap forward in the market.

“Rolling out natural language understanding and voice biometrics together was ambitious,” says Shrouq Al-Hadyan, “but we knew it was essential to stay ahead of our competition.”

Riyad Bank started work on the new service at the end of 2015, and worked hard to prove it could be effective in the region. Nuance supported the bank throughout the process to ensure the technology met the same level of accuracy and efficacy seen in other languages. And to make sure the bank could use the technology, Nuance even helped navigate the complex regulatory approvals.

In just under eight months, Riyad Bank’s customers were already setting up their voiceprints and accessing their accounts simply by saying: “Riyad Bank Knows my Voice.” And with Natural Language Call Steering, customers can now tell the IVR which service they need in their own words, and quickly get transferred to a self-service option or to the right agent.

With voice access, there’s no password to remember, and no unnecessary pre-recorded announcements for customers to listen through—the experience is seamless, quick, and secure.

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