Two of Britain’s biggest banks are set to activate the TouchID security feature on their mobile banking apps in an effort to make user experiences easier.
RBS and Natwest are both planning on integrating the biometric security feature to allow access to account details through mobile apps.
The move has been received with mixed reception, with some claiming that it will open users up to unnecessary risks if their smartphones are left unattended.
TouchID was originally conceived on the iPhone 5s, making it the first smartphone of its kind in the UK to use fingerprints for security.
However, whilst the technology worked, it was used sparingly – allowing users to unlock their handsets with few other benefits. Since then, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have also integrated the technology, and software updates have allowed for Apple Pay to use the feature.
This was the first step to really bring TouchID into the forefront of mobile payments, with only the Apple App Store allowing for purchases using the tech until then.
The service works by using NFC, allowing customers to use their smartphone like a contactless card, but is only valid in the US.
However, this latest news would bring an aspect of financial payment technology to the UK, depending on just how well it takes.
Whilst TouchID is certainly secure, some groups claim that the system can be beaten.
This was proven when a group of hackers managed to construct a fake finger and added a fingerprint to it, allowing them to get by the feature.
However, this is unlikely to cause too many issues, as it’s not a streamlined process and requires a lot of work to implement.
Also, whilst banking apps would allow access to information about your account via fingerprint – like the amount of cash in your account, other features will require extra verification.
Such features include making payments, transfers and other more sensitive actions that can be made through your bank account.
RBS, which also owns Natwest, claims that the feature will be perfectly safe. With almost 3 million weekly app users with both banks, it has already been properly verified.
Currently, the UK has had over 12 million banking apps downloaded, with 6 million transactions happening each day through apps.
RBS also claims that if you fail three times to access your account through your fingerprint, you will have to enter your standard passcode to get into your account.
For now, the service is being slated for February 19th on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, leaving other fingerprint scanning devices out in the cold. TouchID capable iPads won’t be able to access the feature either for some reason.
However, if the service does prove to be a success, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be included on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 4.
Written by Luke Hatfield