New iPhone 6s release 2015: What 3D Touch and Apple's new iPhone means for banking and the financial services industry

David Webber
Tim Cook at launch event
The newest iPhone's technology is good news for banking (Source: Getty)

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 certainly 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 significant 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, for example, 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 per cent) of consumers say they use mobile banking more now that Touch ID has been introduced.

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Meanwhile, Barclays has been taking advantage of optical smartphone technology. It recently introduced optical scanning software, enabling customers to bank their cheques from their smartphones, simply by taking a photograph of them. As a result of this introduction, they were hailed as industry leaders.

Force Touch, or 3D Touch as we now know it, was presented as the hero feature, which should lead to some exciting developments in mobile banking app interfaces. Since 3D Touch brings an additional dimension to touch screen capabilities (i.e. allowing users to interact with an app via pressure as well as touch), we can expect to see a gradual streamlining of app designs. This could mean a move away from expansive menus to more intuitive means of navigation, making mobile banking easier to use than ever before.

Another great feature announced was the updated, second-generation Touch ID authentication mechanism, which is up to two times faster than previous models. Already quickly becoming a crucial feature to mobile banking, Touch ID allows for the safe, secure and convenient authentication of mobile banking users without the need to remember long and often complex passwords. Apple announced that the Touch ID feature has been upgraded in 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.

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Our recent research shows that eight in ten people are ready to ditch their passwords in favour of biometric security measures. Plus, 40 per cent of consumers say they would even consider switching banks to have access to a fingerprint scanner on their mobile banking app.

Banks have been taking advantage of the increasingly advanced technology presented by the launch of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6 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.

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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