​RBS and NatWest tap Apple's Touch ID for mobile banking login

RBS and NatWest customers that own the latest iPhone models can start logging in with their fingerprints.

Customers of the two UK banking brands, RBS and NatWest, that own an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus can now use Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor to log into their accounts.

The banks become the first in the UK to adopt Apple's Touch ID as a way for customers to sign into their mobile banking accounts on their smartphones, cutting out the need for users to remember a passcode and encouraging them to access their accounts with greater frequency.

According to RBS, three million of the two banks' 15 million customers are using its mobile banking app every week. The pair also have 1.8 million iPhone users each using the app on average 40 times per month.

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"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," said Stuart Haire, managing director of RBS and NatWest Direct Bank.

The integration of the banking apps with Touch ID follow Apple's move last year to open up the fingerprint system to third party developers. Some of the first apps to make use of the new API were password apps, such as 1Password, but it's also been adopted by Evernote, Trade, and Amazon. Australian bank St George began allowing customers to use Touch ID late last year and plans to extend the ability to login to its bank accounts using fingerprint ID to Samsung's Galaxy S5 in the future.

According to the BBC, St George users have to undergo some additional security checks on top of confirming their identity using their fingerprint; for example, customers will need to provide additional verification when they want to transfer money, and limits are set on new payments.

One of the additional requirements for the St George app is that the Touch ID-enabled iPhone only has fingerprints from a single person registered.

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