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ABN Amro introduces voice recognition for telephone banking

Dutch bank ABN Amro plans to introduce voice verification for its telephone banking customers in the Netherlands, making pass codes a thing of the past.

The new service will be initially applied to customers making balance enquiries, transfers and investment orders via the telephone. A computer will verify whether the voice matches the caller using more than 100 biometric characteristics including pitch, frequency and jaw structure, the caller then speaks the account number into the telephone.

The process works when the customer is first asked an open question: ‘How can we help you?’ and depending on the answer, he or she is then transferred to the appropriate member of staff.

ABN Amro, which says that 95% of all transactions are now conducted through the direct channels of the internet and telephone, has carried out extensive period of testing among more than 1,450 people and 25,000 test calls.

Customer satisfaction surveys show that these direct channels are gaining in popularity among our customers. Voice verification means better access and more convenience for the customer, said Chris Vogelzang, director ABN Amro Netherlands.

ABN Amro says that so far an initial group of customers has been introduced to the technology and in the coming period, they will arrange part of their banking affairs via this system. Their experiences will provide the basis for the continued roll-out in 2007. The option of voice verified access will be offered to customers on a voluntary basis.