Westpac launches facial recognition functionality on new iPhone X

Alison Banney 4 November 2017 NEWS

Girl on phone 738

Westpac customers can use Apple's new feature, Face ID, to log in to their mobile banking app on the latest iPhone.

Westpac has been quick to announce its support of Apple's new Face ID technology on the iPhone X released on Friday, allowing its customers to use the facial recognition functionality to log in to their mobile banking apps.

Westpac customers who get their hand on the latest iPhone X will be able to use their unique facial ID to securely log in to their mobile banking, without the need for a PIN number or fingerprint. The bank has launched the new functionality across all its brands meaning St.George, Bank SA and Bank of Melbourne customers with the latest iPhone can also use the feature.

General Manager of Consumer Digital at Westpac, Travis Tyler, said in a blog post announcing the new functionality on the bank's website that customers want simpler, faster access to their banking when on the go. "The uptake of fingerprint login for supported devices has only continued to grow, particularly among millennials, as the technology becomes more readily available. Now it’s the next evolution of biometrics in banking, where customer interactions are less about what they can remember and more about who they are."

The new Apple Face ID technology is extremely secure, stating a one in one million chance of being compromised. Its predecessor Touch ID, which uses a customer's unique fingerprint to log in to their phone, is quoted as having a one in fifty thousand chance of being compromised.

Tyler said Face ID is so secure because " ...your eyes need to be open and looking towards your phone for Face ID to work (you can’t be asleep), and the technology maps the geometry of your face and adapts to changes in appearance, helping to protect against the use of print or 2D digital photographs."

For those concerned about the bank's use of their personal biometric data Tyler said: "And no, we don’t store any Face ID information, the phone does. It’s only likely to further grow as data is opened up. The next phase will involve how your digital footprint is becoming your digital DNA, with you everywhere you go and helping keep your data and money safe."

Rival CommBank was also quick to announce its support of the new Face ID functionality in line with the release of the iPhone X yesterday, saying its customers use its existing fingerprint log in functionality over 30 million times a month. ANZ and NAB are yet to announce their support of Apple's Face ID, however ANZ in September launched its own biometric security feature, Voice ID, allowing customers to approve transactions with their voice.

The new facial recognition functionality is only available to Westpac Group customers with the latest iPhone X initially, however the bank said it has plans to support the technology for Android if, and when, it becomes available.

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