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ABN Amro is to introduce voice recoginition for its customers, the Dutch bank announced today. Customers in the Netherlands can soon be identified over the phone without the need for passwords and PIN codes.

The system distinguishes more than 100 biometric characteristics in a person's voice, including pitch, frequency, soft and even jaw structure.

The technology - Voicevault - was developed by Biometric Security, headquartered in Chertsey in the UK, in close collaboration with government and the military. The company says the solution is "the result of over 160 man years of research and development in to science, mathematics and technology."

ABN says it already tested the system with 1,450 volunteers, including twins, and over 25,000 test calls. These calls were made using both fixed-line and mobile phones. Even people who were suffering from colds volunteered.

Voice verification will initially be applied to customers making balance enquiries, transfers and investment orders via the telephone. This is done by saying the account number. A continued roll-out is planned for 2007. The option of voice verified access will only be offered to customers on a voluntary basis, the bank says.®

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