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Friday, 22 August 2014 14:29

St George points the finger at iOS 8 Featured

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Sydney-based bank St George has announced it will be one of the world's first banks to allow users to access mobile banking using just their fingerprints.

The bank said today that starting September, Apple iPhone 5S users will be able to verify their identity by just placing their finger on the home button.

The biometric functionality will come in conjunction with Apple's new iOS 8 mobile operating system, which is slated for a September release.

More than half of the bank's 1.2 million digital customers use mobile-banking, and 15% use it with Apple's iPhone 5S.

St George's parent company Westpac will also have the functionality soon after the much-awaited September iPhone launch.

St George CIO Dhiren Kilkarni said the bank saw a 350% increase in customers using their mobile for banking since its first mobile app launched in 2009.

“That’s why the launch of Touch ID for mobile banking is such an important advancement for mobile banking and for the industry more broadly," he said.

The fingerprint sensor technology will be available as an option for mobile banking login alongside the standard password and PIN login options, and customers will not be forced into using it.

The bank confirmed only a fingerprint already registered on the phone can be used with St George's app, adding the new function has been rigorously tested and customer credentials won't be stored on the device at all.

St George CEO George Frazis said that technology-based innovation was critical to the bank because; "It's difficult to respond when a disrupter has entered the market. You have to be at the forefront."

Android users need not fear; the functionality will also be added to the Galaxy S5 in the coming months.

The bank has a history of being at the forefront of technological innovation - as we reported in May St George announced smartwatch compatibility for its customers along with iBeacon trials within its retail branch network.

St George described both initiatives as Australian-firsts for banks, and said they were part of providing customers with a personalised, tailored banking ecosystem.

Currently being trialled in three Sydney branches, St. George's iBeacon means whenever a customer enters a branch they receive a welcome message and tailored information directly to their iPhone from an iPad in the branch. Customers can then either respond to the message or cancel the interaction.

St George said the purpose of the trial is to "gain valuable feedback from customers to ensure the service genuinely meets their needs and enhances their experience with St. George."

“The future of business will be in the ability to anticipate customer’s needs, understand what matters to them and act on that knowledge to surprise and delight them, George Frazis, CEO of St. George Banking Group said.

"Our investment in iBeacon will help us to achieve that – and it has the potential to dramatically change the service experience in Australian banking.

“The iBeacon trial forms part of a broader investment in our retail branches that will see more digital technology and increased staff expertise to make banking simpler, easier and faster for our customers."


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