Nuance VocalPassword—Omni-channel customer engagement success stories

Adiós to PINS, passwords, and security questions

Millions of Santander customers simply use their voice to access their accounts.

Company profile

In July 2010, the Mexican Government announced legislation for new security parameters by which all Mexican banks must abide when identifying and authenticating their customers. These included the use of personal questions, a 6-digit telephone PIN, OTP (one-time password), or biometrics.

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Santander logo

As the first bank in México to deploy a voice biometrics solution in this way, we are able to offer our customers the exceptional experience that they deserve. The ability for customers to use their voice to gain access to their accounts is an easy and natural process, allowing the first point of contact with our bank to be enjoyable and hassle-free.

José Ignacio Zorilla
Executive Director for Multichannel and Innovation
Banco Santander Mexico


  • Compliance with government regulations
  • 60-65% authentication failure rate
  • End-user dissatisfaction with current authentication method
  • AHT for authentication by an agent of 1.2 minutes


  • Nuance Security Suite
  • Integrated with IVR
  • No PINs, passwords, and security questions
  • "En Banco Santander mi voz es mi firma" (At Banco Santander my voice is my signature)


The 6-digit telephone PIN that customers were allowed to use in the IVR under the new legislation was highly restrictive because customers could not use more than two consecutive numbers, nor repeat the same number, nor use a series of personal numbers related to personal data, such as birthdate. Consequently, more often than not, the 6-digit PIN that customers selected was very quickly forgotten. At the time, out of 1.4 million customer calls that were answered by live agents, 60-65% failed authentication, resulting in agents having to verify identity with the help of security questions. On average, agents spent 72 seconds on this verification process before being able to assist the customer with their needs. This time-consuming process impeded the caller from quickly completing their transaction and negatively impacted customer satisfaction.

The bank decided to explore an alternative to the six-digit PIN. The matrix of criteria they evaluated to arrive at a PIN-replacement choice included customer satisfaction, security, legal acceptance, cost, distribution, portability, and future technological potential. Santander’s leadership concluded that biometrics was the best option that met their multiple criteria requirements. After extensive analysis, voice biometrics was selected because it afforded convenience for the customer, coupled with a high level of security, at a reasonable price to the bank. Santander chose Nuance Security Suite with liveness and playback detection.

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