UK customers get banking at their fingerprints
18 February 2015 14:46 GMT

UK customers will get to use their fingerprints for banking app access following positive research

RBS and NatWest, two major UK-based banks, have announced they are to offer login to their mobile apps using just a fingerprint.

From tomorrow, RBS and NatWest customers with an iPhone 5S, 6 or 6 Plus will be able to log into their mobile banking app with their fingerprint – something the banks claim is a first for the UK market.

More and more of RBS and NatWest's customers are using digital technology to bank. Nearly 50% of the banks’ 15 million customers actively use online banking, with more than three million customers using the mobile app every week. RBS and NatWest claim they have 1.8 million active iPhone users who use the app on average 40 times per month.

RBS and NatWest's busiest branch is the mobile app itself - over 167,000 of RBS and NatWest’s customers use it between 7am and 8am on their commute to work every day.

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

RBS and NatWest said they introduced Touch ID following positive feedback from their customers. Consumer research elsewhere backs up the banks' claims that this will be popular with customers.

Intelligent Environments, a banking app provider who polled 2000 UK consumers last year, found that there is a huge surge of interest from consumers in biometric technology, popularised by Apple’s Touch ID.

The company's survey revealed that eight in ten (79%) Brits are keen to ditch their passwords in favour of biometric security measures such as fingerprint scanners, while 53% of consumers said they would like their bank to integrate fingerprint scanners into mobile and digital banking services.

The latest trend away from PINs and passwords in the financial sector is also illustrated by figures just released by MasterCard on the growth of contactless payments across Europe. In the last quarter of 2014, tap transactions in Europe grew by 174% year on year and tappers increased their usage by more than 20%. In the UK and Poland, more than 90% of tappers declared themselves completely satisfied when using contactless to make a payment.

According to data published by The UK Cards Association, spending on contactless cards in the UK has more than trebled over the last year to reach a record £2.32 billion in 2014.

In Europe, 22 countries are live with more than 70 mobile NFC projects.