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Westpac adds fingerprint access to mobile banking app

Westpac customers will soon be able to access their bank accounts with a fingerprint, thanks to new technology that will be available across selected Apple and Samsung smartphones.

Westpac's online banking platform. Westpac

Westpac is rolling out fingerprint security access for mobile banking customers in the new year, as part of its digital banking platform known as Westpac Live.

The changes will come into effect in January 2015 and will allow customers to access online banking services using Apple Touch ID or the built-in Finger Scanner capabilities on selected Samsung devices. The technology will be available on Apple's iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4, making it a worldwide banking first for the Android platform.

Westpac Live was launched in May this year as a means to bring consistency to the banking experience between PC, mobile and tablet. It offers features such as a "real-time running balance and advanced search capability" and, according to the bank, the service has already been used by 2.9 million of its customers.

Fingerprint sign-in isn't the only thing coming to the online banking platform, with a number of new features also coming "early next year".

These include the option to view accounts in foreign currency, the ability to share access to accounts (including visibility and control over what other users can see and do) and functionality to view up to three personal or business accounts without signing in.

Westpac is also adding new self-service features such as the ability to trace transactions and request for cheques to be stopped.