HSBC Rolls Out Biometric Banking

fingerprint scan smartphone

Voice recognition and fingerprint scanning will give HSBC and First Direct customers extra security

HSBC is looking to make banking that bit more personal with the launch of new biometric logins for its customers.

Users who register for the service will be able to scan their fingerprint or use voice recognition to access their accounts on mobile devices, meaning there’s no need to remember passwords or key login information.

The new options will be available to customers of HSBC and First Direct, with the latter beginning to enrol for the voice ID in the coming weeks, with HSBC looking to get its 15 million customers following suit later this summer.


HSBCCustomers using iPhone or iPad devices equipped with the TouchID reader will be the first beneficiaries of the fingerprint scanning service, being able to link their fingerprint to the app after downloading.

The voice ID recognition software is being developed by Nuance Communications, which says it creates a “voice print” using over 100 unique identifiers. This includes both behavioural features such as speed, cadence and pronunciation, and physical aspects including the shape of larynx, vocal tract and nasal passages, and will even work if the user has an illness that affects the pitch of their voice.

Francesca McDonagh, HSBC UK’s head of retail banking and wealth management, said it was “the largest planned roll out of voice biometric security technology in the UK”.

“The launch of voice and touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account, using the most secure form of password technology – the body,” she said.

Alongside today’s announcement, HSBC also published a survey which found that 74 percent of people believed that biometric security would become the default “password” of the future.

Barclays already allows some of its corporate clients and Wealth customers (those with a higher income or high valued assets) to log in to their accounts using a biometric reader, and also has voice recognition software, enabled for certain users, with RBS and NatWest also offering finger print technology to some customers.

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