While other banks have been only considering integrating Touch ID into their iOS apps, the UK’s RBS and NatWest have already taken that step: an industry first, reports the BBC.
As with every other app that uses Touch ID, RBS and NatWest customers will initially need to enable this security setting, but thereafter will only need to place their fingerprint on the home button to log in. However, after three failed login attempts, customers will need to re-enter their passcodes.
According to RBS and NatWest data, the use of Touch ID will be limited to roughly 880,000 customers. Critics, however, point to the vulnerability of the built-in fingerprint sensor: it was hacked on the same day Apple launched it for the iPhone 5s.
Ben Schlabs, of SRLabs, a German hacking think tank, told the BBC: “The security implications are the same, it is just as dangerous… I think it has been shown that it is pretty easy to spoof it and the risks aren’t fully understood.”
“Just the fact that you are carrying the key around with you and leave copies of it exposed everywhere you go makes it a very different risk to something that is inside your brain. The risks are poorly understood.”
However, he said that most people would have little need to worry, adding: “There have not been any reports that I know of with the iPhone sensor of actual crimes being enabled by it”.
On the other hand, the banks themselves are positive about this move, as they are anyway responding to demand by eliminating the hassle of password input.
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 TouchID 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.”
The Way We Bank study revealed that people are making up to 7 million transactions using smartphones and other internet-enabled technology. The aforementioned banks say nearly half of their combined customer base of 15 million people access their accounts via an app each week. That means nearly a third of them may soon be authenticating themselves via Touch ID.