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RBS and NatWest secure bank accounts with iPhone Touch ID

Barry Collins
18 Feb 2015
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Apple's fingerprint reader used to give customers access to their bank accounts for first time

RBS and NatWest are to become the first banks in the country to let customers sign into their accounts using the fingerprint reader on Apple's iPhones. The move will mean owners of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus won't need to remember a password or other login details to gain access to their account using their mobile. 

It marks another critical step in the adoption of Apple's fingerprint reader, which was first introduced with the launch of the iPhone 5s back in September 2013. Apple lets customers use the Touch ID system to verify purchases from the App Store and iTunes, and it has also been adopted by a number of third-party app developers, including Amazon, Dropbox and Evernote.

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Touch ID is also a critical part of Apple's wireless payments system, Apple Pay. That has widespread support from major credit card companies (American Express, Barclaycard and others) and US retailers (including McDonald's, Foot Locker and the Disney Stores chain) but has yet to make any significant impact in the UK. 

RBS and NatWest claim to have 1.8m active iPhone users who use the firms' mobile banking app on average 40 times per month. "There has been a revolution in banking, as more and more of our customers are using digital technology to bank with us," says Stuart Haire, managing director of 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."

Touch ID is also available on two models of the iPad - the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 - but a Natwest spokesperson has since confirmed to Expert Reviews that TouchID on these devices will not be compatible with each bank's respective app. 

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