Banks introduce fingerprint tech to access accounts

Customers of two major banks will be able to access accounts on their smartphones using fingerprint recognition technology from tomorrow, with more banks expected to follow suit.

RBS and NatWest customers will only need to use Apple’s Touch ID to log in, after the feature is activated using personal security information, with almost one million people awaited to access their accounts “within seconds”.

The banks said the feature will be available on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, in a UK industry first. The technology recognises the customer’s unique fingerprint, making passcodes a thing of the past.

“There has been a revolution in banking, as more and more of our customers are using digital technology to bank with us,” Stuart Haire, managing director at RBS and NatWest, said in a statement.

The Touch ID service comes after customers asked for the technology to be introduced in their mobile banking app when giving feedback on RBS’s Ideas Bank website.

“Adding Touch ID to our mobile banking app makes it even easier and more convenient for customers to manage their finances on the move and directly responds to their requests,” Haire said.

Figures from Visa Europe have shown that three-quarters of 16 to 24 year olds back biometric security such as Touch ID and believe it to be faster and easier than passwords and PINs. However, concerns were raised over grater risks of data and financial compromise with the introduction of alternative biometric security measures to replace traditional authentication.

The banking group has 1.8 million active iPhone users, of which 880,000 have an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. The banks said that customers who do not want to use Touch ID will still access their mobile banking using their passcode.

To start using Touch ID customers need to make sure they have the latest version of RBS’s mobile app.

Ulster Bank customers with an iPhone will also be able to use the same technology to access their accounts.

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