Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest customers can now make use of Apple’s TouchID biometric sensor to provide easier access to mobile banking apps.

The technology – available to owners of the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 - recognises a customer’s fingerprint, meaning they will no longer need to remember a password when logging in to mobile services. Around 1.8 million of the two banks' customers have iPhones, with 880,000 owning devices compatible with the authentication technology.

RBS and Natwest mobile payment app touch sensor authentication
RBS and Natwest claim to be the first to offer fingerprint technology to customers using Apple iPhones. Image credit: RBS

The fingerprint technology was introduced following recommendations for the service on the bank’s ‘Ideas Bank’ online forum, the bank said.

Almost half of RBS and Natwest’s combined customer base now actively use mobile banking, with more than 3 million relying on mobile apps every week. Like most banks in the UK, RBS and Natwest have been investing more heavily in digital channels of interaction with their customers, as they close branch networks. This is partly to meet customer expectations but also to reduce cost: transactions made on mobile devices cost the bank a fraction of those made on-premise.

“There has been a revolution in banking, as more and more of our customers are using digital technology to bank with us,” said Stuart Haire, managing director, RBS and Natwest Direct Bank.

“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. Our aim is to be the number one bank for customer trust, service and advocacy so we want to continue adapting our service based on the valuable feedback we receive from our customers every day.”

RBS and Natwest claim to be the first to offer fingerprint technology to customers, though Barclays has hinted it would do the same following the launch of a finger vein scanner for large corporate transactions.

Biometics appears to be set to become more commonplace in the financial sector. Mastercard recently announced that it is teaming up with a startup called Zwipe to launch a new contactless payment card with an integrated fingerprint sensor.