TSB is introducing iris recognition to its mobile banking app – meaning some customers will be able to log in to their account simply by looking at their phone.

From September, TSB customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ smartphone will be able to use the Samsung Pass iris scanner to access their account via the TSB mobile banking app. TSB says it's the first bank in Europe to provide the technology.

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How will TSB's iris recognition work?

Here's a quick summary:

  • To do this, you'll need a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+.
  • You'll need to log in to the app and opt for iris recognition. You'll then have to scan your eyes with your phone's camera.
  • After that, to log in to the app all you'll need to do is glance at the screen. TSB says it should take less than a second to log in.

Is iris recognition secure?

TSB says iris scanning is the most secure form of biometric authentication around, with 266 unique characteristics compared with 40 for fingerprints. TSB customers can already access their banking using their fingerprint.

Carlos Abarca, TSB's chief information officer, said: "Iris recognition allows you to unlock your TSB mobile app with a simple glance, meaning all of those IDs, passwords and memorable information become a thing of the past."

He added: "We want our mobile app customers to continue to have a fast, easy-to-use experience. Iris recognition delivers that and, when combined with our other security measures, an unparalleled level of cybersecurity."

Banking embraces biometric security

Biometric security has been around for a while now – the mass market breakthrough came with the inclusion of a 'Touch ID' fingerprint reading sensor with Apple's iPhone 5s.

Now banks are increasingly exploring iris and voice recognition technology and fingerprint scanning to make it quicker and safer for customers to access their finances.

Millions of HSBC and First Direct customers can now use voice recognition instead of passwords to log in to telephone banking, and both banks plus Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest allow customers to log in to their accounts via apps using fingerprint scanning.

Isabelle Moeller of the Biometrics Institute told MoneySavingExpert.com: "Overall, biometrics offer consumers a much higher level of security than a password, and also convenience. With a password, anyone can look over your shoulder and see what you're typing or if you have it written down."