LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland on Wednesday launched a new service for its RBS and NatWest customers enabling them to log on to the bank’s mobile application using their fingerprints, becoming the first British bank to do so.
RBS, which is 80 percent-owned by the British government, said its new ‘Touch ID’ would be available for nearly one million Apple iPhone users that have RBS or NatWest mobile banking apps. The technology recognizes customers’ fingerprints so they don’t need to remember a password to log in.
RBS said in June last year it would invest over 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) over the next three years to make it easier for customers to bank when they are on the move and offset a decline in branch usage.
The move is part of the bank’s reaction to a decline in customers using its branches and growth in those banking online and via mobile phone apps.
“There has been a revolution in banking, as more and more of our customers are using digital technology to bank,” said Stuart Haire, managing director, RBS and NatWest Direct Bank.
RBS said the technology would enable 880,000 RBS and NatWest customers who have particular types of iPhones to access their accounts within seconds.
Other banks are also investing in technology designed to make it easier for customers to log in and to prevent fraud.
Barclays last year launched a finger scanner for corporate customers and said it would roll out voice recognition for millions of retail clients. RBS said nearly half its 15 million customers now bank online, with over 3 million using its mobile app each week.
($1 = 0.6516 pounds)
Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Mark Potter