The New Zealand subsidiary of Australian bank Westpac has teamed up electronic and mobile device manufacturer Samsung to offer the first mobile banking application that uses a fingerprint ID.
The latest iteration in Samsung’s series of Galaxy smartphones the Galaxy S5, taking a note from Apple, boasts a fingerprint scanner in the home button for unlocking the device. The security feature has been adopted by PayPal, which is the first 3rd party firm to utilize the fingerprint scanner, by adding the option to scan a finger to authorize a payment.
Westpac New Zealand plans to become the first banking institution to use the new fingerprint technology. The bank is currently running tests of the fingerprint feature along with an update to its banking application with its employees. If all goes well Westpac will be releasing the application to its customers.
One of the major drawbacks of mobile solutions, particularly financial oriented applications, is the need to enter a password every time a transaction is needed to be placed. Long passwords with required capitalization and characters can make the experience rather frustrating on small mobile screens. The fingerprint identification is meant to replace the need of entering a password, resulting in faster and secure payment authorization.
“We are constantly looking at how we can make things easier and faster without increasing risk,” says Simon Pomeroy, the chief digital officer at Westpac New Zealand.
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Westpac is on the cutting edge of digital and mobile banking and already has applications designed for smartwatches and other wearables.
Other banks are looking for ways for easing use on their mobile applications through secure authorization techniques. Currently the majority are still in the testing phase, and in an effort to offer the solution more universally, are focusing on voice recognition rather than fingerprints.
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