Monday, 06 November 2017 00:36

CommBank app launches iPhone X Face ID secure access too, no Apple Pay


It's not just Westpac which has launched iPhone X Face ID compatibility while ignoring Apple Pay, the Commonwealth Bank says it was actually the first to do so on Friday.

If you've got an iPhone X, you're enjoying a stack of new apps being updated for iPhone X screen compatibility, with an iPhone X section in the App Store showing recommended apps, too.

I wrote about Westpac's announcement here, and note there is no mention of any similar support yet from NAB at its newsroom, or its app page, but presumably the NAB will roll this feature out, too.

While I don't see any banking apps in the iPhone X App Store recommended list, as yet, CommBank and Westpac are among the first worldwide to accept Face ID as an authentication factor, replacing the Touch ID that's naturally still fully active for every other Touch ID capable device out there.

Face ID is used to log into the app, and a steady stream of updated apps will continue arriving, adding ever more reasons for existing users and Android switchers to upgrade.

The bank and Apple state that "Face ID is one of the most secure ways to log into an account because it performs in-depth mapping of an individual's face using more than 30,000 points of reference. These include the spacing between, and shape of, facial features."

Pete Steel, CommBank's executive general manager of Digital, said in a media release that: "Our customers use secure fingerprint logins on the CommBank App about 30 million times a month.

“Extending that functionality to Face ID is part of our ongoing work to provide a better banking experience to our customers through simple, easy and secure features.

“While we strive towards convenience and ease of use, we don't implement new technology without being able to guarantee security for customers.”

So, the Commonwealth Bank opens its arms to Face ID, but due to what I understand from past media reports is a dispute over financial arrangements regarding Apple Pay payments, CommBank, NAB and Westpac are still holding off from allowing Apple Pay usage, while seemingly trying every other payment method possible in an attempt to avoid paying the fee that Apple wants for its Apple Pay service.

Hopefully the banks and Apple will face up to each other to end the face-off, individually as seems to be required rather than the denied attempt for collective bargaining, and the customers of those banks can use Face ID and Touch ID at long last to access their debit and credit card accounts and get with the Apple Pay program at long last.

Until then, Face ID for login is supported, and the next wave of advanced facial biometric identification continues rolling in.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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