Banks to allow access using fingerprint tech

Feb 18, 2015, 7:07 AM EST
A touch I.D. pad is seen on the new iPad Mini 3 during an Apple special event on October 16, 2014 in Cupertino, California.
AFP/Getty Images

Two banks are allowing their customers to access accounts on their smartphones using fingerprint recognition technology, in a U.K, industry first, reports the BBC.

RBS and NatWest customers must activate the feature with their security information, but would only need to use Apple's Touch ID thereafter.

The banks said that, after three failed login attempts, customers would have to re-enter their passcodes.

But a security expert expressed concern that Touch ID is not secure enough. The banks, both part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said that the feature would be available on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus. Customers would have to enable the feature using their existing login details.

According to The Guardian, the list of third-party apps adopting Touch ID to secure their contents or authenticate purchases has expanded in recent months with apps including Evernote and Dropbox, password managers such as LastPass and 1Password, and shops such as Amazon all now supporting the fingerprint sensor.

A spokesman for RBS NatWest said: “Never has banking for U.K. customers been more at their fingertips, or fingerprints. RBS and NatWest customers will be the first of any UK-based bank to be able to log in to their mobile banking app using only their fingerprint.

The technology recognises customers’ unique finger print so they don’t have to remember a tricky login passcode.” RBS said nearly half of its 15 million customers actively use online banking, with more than 3 million customers using the mobile app every week. It estimates that it has around 1.8 million active iPhone users, of which 880,000 use an iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus. It says 167,000 customers use the banking app each day on their way to work between 7am and 8am.