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NatWest eases business payments with biometric authentication on mobile

NatWest is making it easier and safer for businesses to make payments of any size via a mobile app using biometric authentication technology

Business customers of NatWest bank can now make payments through mobile phones by using biometric technology such as facial recognition and fingerprints.

The payment approval feature on the bank’s Bankline Mobile app can be used on payments of any size. Initially available for iOS devices, it negates the need for a card reader through Apple’s Face ID and Touch ID technology.

The service, which complies with the latest Payment Service Directive (PSD2) regulations, will be available for Android users later this year.

James Holian, chief operating officer of commercial and private banking at NatWest, said ease, speed and security are important to its customers.

“By offering unprecedented levels of security as well as the ability to make payments of any size, we feel this is another important innovation that will make it easier for our customers to get on with doing what they do best: running their business,”  he said.

The business-focused service follows an announcement in March of a pilot of a biometric card for consumers. This was aimed at increasing the security of contactless payments and enabling customers to make payments worth more than £30 using the payment method.

Customers will be able to store and activate fingerprint-based verification, and if the customer places their finger on the card corner where their biometric information is stored, contactless payments above £30 will be authorised without the need to enter their PIN.

Biometric authentication is increasing in demand from consumers. According to research from Mastercard, carried out with Oxford University, 92% of banking professionals wanted to introduce biometric ID and 93% of consumers would prefer biometric security to passwords.

Mastercard even set a deadline of April 2019 for all of its customers to be able to use biometrics, including fingerprint and facial recognition.

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