Westpac New Zealand has completed a trial which could allow customers to use finger print scanning to log into its mobile banking app on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and eventually other smartphones.
In a YouTube video released by the bank, a spokesperson explained that it used the Galaxy S5 for the proof of concept trial because it has finger print scanning technology.
After entering a user name and password, this information is assessed by a security service called Online Guardian. If the information is correct, the customer than swipes their fingerprint to access the mobile banking app.
Westpac NZ chief digital officer Simon Pomeroy told Computerworld Australia that it hopes to have the option available for its customers in NZ "later this year".
"One of the key objectives of our digital strategy is to make banking faster and easier for our customers in the channels of their choice and we expect the Samsung S5 to be one of those," he said.
"We are constantly looking at how we can make things easier and faster without increasing risk. The ease of use that the fingerprint scanner provides is another solution that simplifies access to mobile banking for our customers."
When asked why the Westpac NZ conducted the trial using the Samsung S5, he said the bank has a good relationship with the vendor and enabled it to get "advance development time" on the smartphone.
"Once we have worked through the details for a market release we will also look to support other devices as the [finger print scanning] feature becomes available."Read more: Westpac taps Telstra for telecom upgrade
Pomeroy said that any solution that gets released to market will meet the bank's legislative requirements and "strict security standards".
"We don't currently view or hold any biometric information," he added.
Westpac Group Australia online and mobility CIO Dhiren Kulkarni told Computerworld Australia that it is also planning to do a proof of concept using finger print scanning as a log in for mobile banking in the "coming months."
He said that a proof of concept will allow it to test the technology and see that it is secure and compliant with privacy legislation before exploring whether to roll it out to customers.
"We will be working closely with our colleagues in Westpac New Zealand as part of this process," Kulkarni said.
In February 2014, Westpac Australia confirmed that it was trialling an app for Google Glass following news that Westpac NZ was trialling its Cash Tank app on the technology.
At the time, Westpac Group general manager Harry Wendt told Techworld Australia that the bank was trialling a version of the St George MoneyMeter app for Google Glass and smart watches.
The iPhone version of MoneyMeter lets users check bank balances multiple times on their iPhones without having to log onto its mobile banking service. It was launched in December 2012.
“We are also trialling a Westpac branch and ATM locater on smart watches. Our intention is to test, learn and then use what we have learnt to introduce it into our other brands,” he said at the time.
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