RBS and NatWest add Touch ID: Industry Analysis

Following yesterday's news that RBS and NatWest have introduced Touch ID as a means of identification, we have received several comments from industry experts offering their opinions.

Jason Goode, managing director EMEA at Ping Identity

"CIOs and IT managers should take note that while security is a top priority for online banking customers, so too is convenience.

"It should therefore come as no surprise that the banking industry is starting to embrace the next generation of application technology. Biometric technology such as fingerprint recognition not only facilitates a faster service in our on-demand culture, but it also centres on the user’s identity- a crucial aspect.

"By deploying systems that centre on a customer’s identity and recognise returning customers to give them quick and easy access, banks can avoid any exodus and allow both their businesses and their customers to truly realise the benefits of secure online, mobile access to their finances"

Keith Graham, CTO of SecureAuth

“After years of failed attempts at biometric authentication for the masses, it now looks like the consumer device, the smart phone, may be a major driver of adoption and may enable widespread uptake of the fingerprint as a widely used form of authentication.

"While we saw the introduction of fingerprint readers in some smart phones in 2013, it’s really in the past year that we’ve seen the uptake of adoption and requests for fingerprint readers in both the iPhone and Samsung devices being leveraged for authentication.

"More recently we’ve seen Apple open up the Touch ID API in iOS so any application developers can leverage this capability.

“Owners of these devices are only looking to do more with this biometric functionality, while the security community continues to question whether it’s ‘strong enough’ and can hold up as a replacement for the password or PIN.

"Arguably, it’s a good balance of convenience, usability and security, rather than being a ‘strong’ method of authentication. As this debate rages on, the challenge for organisations will be again, striking the appropriate balance between user experience and strong authentication."

Kevin Dallas, chief product & marketing officer at Worldpay Ecommerce

"While biometric scanning never did quite catch on for personal computers, the rise of mobile devices has finally brought the technology into the mainstream.

"This announcement from RBS and NatWest that they will allow customers to log into their mobile banking apps using the fingerprint scanners on their phones marks the next step forward in the marriage between biometrics and peoples’ growing collection of connected devices.

"A recent study from Acuity Market Intelligence underlines this trend, predicting that revenues from mobile biometrics will reach $33.3bn by 2020, primarily driven by demand in the mobile payments and banking sectors.

"To add to this, more than one-third of Brits say they’d like to the option to pay for goods and services using a fingerprint, palm or iris scanner.

"But, while biometric scanning tech is on-course to generate a great deal of revenue across a number of industries, it’s safe to say the payments infrastructure of many businesses is not yet prepared to accommodate it.

"A growing number of customers will own devices with embedded scanners, but to cash-in on the biometrics boom businesses will need to ensure they have the back-end resources required to differentiate themselves with a biometric payment offering.

Sarah Francis, Money Laundering Reporting Officer and Compliance Director at The PPRO Group

"In a new effort to move away from the use of passwords, RBS and NatWest have announced that they are soon to allow customers to access accounts on their smartphones using fingerprint recognition technology.

"This is an interesting, yet exciting step for the financial and banking sector. With more and more consumers turning to online banking, we have seen an increased move into a cashless society, which is becoming increasingly apparent with the closure of many bank branches.

"Whilst this announcement may be welcomed by some, many may still be concerned with the possibility of security and fraud. It should be remembered that fingerprints are publicly available and could be cloned, with different levels of effort.

"Therefore deploying biometric technology should be considered as part of a multi-factor authentication strategy by industry."