HSBC is rolling out Apple Touch ID support to its banking apps as the company looks to make greater use of biometric security and identification.
The bank will also introduce voice recognition to 15 million UK customers, allowing them to pass security checks by voice identification.
The bank’s goal is to roll out more biometric identification services to replace passwords and security questions, which it believes are out-dated and overly reliant on customers' memory.
Francesca McDonagh, HSBC UK’s head of retail banking and wealth management, explained that the bank’s plan to roll out the fingerprint and voice tech is the largest of its kind in the UK.
“The launch of voice and Touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account using the most secure form of password technology - the body,” she said.
However, HSBC is hardly ahead of the curve when it comes to biometric security. Barclays has introduced voice recognition and a vein scanner designed to be more secure than fingerprint scanners, although it offers such services only to high-wealth and business customers.
Rival banks NatWest and RBS have offered fingerprint scanner identification since last year. Atom Bank is a little ahead of the game, allowing customers to log-in to accounts using face recognition.
The move to offer more biometric security is likely to be a response to a rise in cyber crime by hackers who gain access to bank account passwords used for online and digital banking. It is estimated that such criminal activity results in the theft of £27bn every year.
The use of biometrics will go some way to curtailing bank account hacking related to stolen passwords and credentials.
Research by payment firm Visa suggests that biometrics will spell the end of passwords for banking by 2020. This does not seem beyond the realms of imagination given the growing adoption of Apple’s Touch ID for online payments.
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