ANZ plans to use voice recognition technology when authorising large cash transfers to external accounts via mobile banking, a move it says will enhance security.
Under the plan, which is still being tested, mobile banking customers would no longer be prevented from "paying anyone" $1000 or more through the bank's smartphone application.
Instead, they would be able to authorise higher-value payments by speaking into their phone, after having already provided a password. The computer system would then compare their voice with a digital "voiceprint" stored in a database. It is the latest sign banks are using "biometric" information to identify customers more easily and cheaply.
Lenders have also looked at using fingerprint testing to replace personal identification numbers or PINs, or attaching retina scanners to automatic teller machines.
ANZ's plan to use voice recognition technology is still in the pilot phase, but the chief executive of the bank's Australian arm, Phil Chronican, said he expected the new system would be introduced within the next year to 18 months.
"We're piloting it. We think we'll do it. Obviously it's got to pass all the tests," Mr Chronican said in a technology briefing on Wednesday.
The bank believes its plan is more secure than sending a text message to confirm a large payment, because of the risk of phones being stolen.
Mr Chronican said voice recognition was also likely to be used in call centres - a move that could have a "massive productivity benefit" for the bank because it could save resources required to identify customers over the phone.
"If we've already got a biometrics database set up, then we could use it when you call a call centre and you need to be identified," he said.
Australia's big banks are spending hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading technology systems, amid expectations mobile banking will help in retaining customers.