Standard Bank edges toward fingerprint banking

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Cape Town - Standard Bank is taking baby steps towards biometrics as the bank has updated its application with fingerprint technology.

Standard Bank iPhone and iPad users with device fingerprint readers were recently upgraded to use the hardware to log on to the banking application.

"Standard Bank plans to roll out this feature to biometrically-enabled Android phones in the near future," Magnus Taljaard, head of Mobile Banking at Standard Bank, told Fin24.

So far in South Africa, Samsung and Huawei are the only other brands that offer fingerprint access.

While Capitec has embraced biometric technology in their branches, Standard Bank says that the technology gives them a competitive edge.

Traditional PIN

"With the latest upgrade to our banking apps, customers with Touch ID-enabled smartphones and tablets have the option to use Apple’s fingerprint identity sensor to sign into our mobile banking apps. This gives the promise of 'banking at your fingertips' an added dimension - and gives Standard Bank the competitive edge as we were the first South African bank to implement the technology," Taljaard said.

But in case not all customers are ready to make the jump to biometric banking, the traditional PIN will continue to be available and features such as adding beneficiaries will demand additional security on the application.

Standard Bank will employ two factor authentication in the banking application for certain transactions. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

"There has been a very positive response from our customers to date, and many customers are saying that the TouchID feature has simplified their banking experience. It is important to note that the ability to sign in to mobile banking using the fingerprint sensor is combined with an additional security layer for certain transactions, for example when paying new beneficiaries," said Taljaard.

Juniper Research predicts that the number of people downloading biometric enabled applications are expected to increase from six million in 2015 to over 770 million per year by 2019.

While biometric ATMs are already available in Brazil and Kenya, the technology has been also been used successfully to manage elections in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Nigeria.

But Standard Bank expressed caution when asked about implementing the technology at local ATMs.

"We are evaluating a number of promising biometric solutions that could benefit our customers. All solutions undergo rigorous testing by the bank and, just as importantly, we test these solutions with our customers to ensure these meet their needs, before releasing it to the market," Taljaard said.

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