By: David Webber, Managing Director at Intelligent Environments

The long-awaited iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are finally here and, despite being somewhat overshadowed at yesterday’s launch by the iPad Pro and Apple TV, they hold much promise for the banking sector. In particular they have the potential to significantly improve mobile banking, thanks to several new and updated features.

Improvements in smartphone technology have historically presented opportunities for the banking industry – indeed, several providers have been busy exploiting the most recent developments, exploring how they might be used to improve the process of mobile banking for customers.

In February this year, RBS and Natwest became the first major banks to introduce Touch ID as an authentication mechanism for their banking apps. Other providers soon followed the trend, and to great effect: our recent research has found that a third (33%) of consumers say they use mobile banking more now that Touch ID has been introduced.

The importance of Touch ID is clear. Indeed, at yesterday’s launch it was revealed that the two most significant upgrades featured in the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are the introduction of “3D Touch” and an improved, second-generation Touch ID.

This is good news since the integration of Touch ID is fast becoming a deal-breaker for banking customers, given the safety benefits of biometric security and the speed and convenience of not having to recall elaborate passwords. Our recent research shows that eight in ten people are ready to ditch their passwords in favour of biometric security measures. Plus, 40% of consumers say they would even consider switching banks to have access to a fingerprint scanner on their mobile banking app.

Apple announced yesterday that the Touch ID feature has been upgraded in both speed and accuracy, to allow for even greater security and responsiveness. This will surely lead to greater uptake of mobile banking by consumers due to increased confidence in the technology – thus, the opportunity for banks to further improve the authentication process, making it easier and safer than ever before, is clear.

Depending on how it is integrated, it is possible we may see a similar consumer demand as we have for Touch ID now that 3D Touch has been introduced. Since the feature enables users to interact with an app by combining the usual touch gestures with pressure, there is an opportunity for banks to streamline the content of their apps (for example) and revolutionise the way customers interact with them: windows might be scrolled through at different speeds depending on the pressure applied on the screen, or varying degrees of pressure might trigger different functions.However software developers choose to integrate the feature, 3D Touch – through its ability to streamline the customer journey and offer added convenience – is sure to benefit mobile banking.

Banks have been taking advantage of the increasingly advanced technology presented by the launch of the iPhone 5S and the iPhone6 to make mobile banking safer, easier to use and more convenient than ever before. As a result, more customers than ever now use mobile banking as the primary way to manage their finances.

Therefore, following the recent launch of the iPhone 7, we are likely to be in the midst of a pivotal time for financial services providers, and it will be exciting to see what will be done in the coming months to push the new features to their limit.

It remains to be seen which bank will be the first to exploit these updated features, but suffice to say it will be an exciting time for developers keen to bring new and exciting offerings to the mobile banking market – watch this space.

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