RBS and NatWest banking customers will be able to log-in to mobile apps by using Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
The banks said that from 19 February their customers will be the first in the UK to be able to access mobile banking in this way, as long as they have an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
Setting up the system will require customers to log in with their traditional security credentials but they can then set up the app to require only fingerprint information.
RBS said that it added the functionality in response to requests from customers via the bank's online forum.
RBS and NatWest said that at present around three million people use the banks' mobile apps each week, 1.8 million of whom are iPhone users. The average person uses the app 40 times a month.
Stuart Haire, managing director for RBS and NatWest Direct Bank, said that adding the fingerprint functionality will improve ease of use for millions of customers.
“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,” he said.
The move underlines the continuing evolution in the use of technology by banks, with services such as free WiFi in branches and mobile payment tools like Barclays's Pingit service.
Apple's Touch ID Sensor works by scanning the sub-epidermal skin layers of the person holding the iPhone to verify their identity before unlocking. As a safety measure the fingerprint is stored only on the chip and not uploaded to the cloud.
However, despite the security of the biometric tech, hackers have successfully proved that the Touch ID system can be spoofed, although the requirements for doing so are complicated and not likely to pose a risk to most everyday users.
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