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What is biometric?

Please see below for our FAQs on biometric.

Register for Biometrics

How to register for face biometrics?

To register your face biometrics you will require a mobile phone (or tablet) with a front facing camera.

Log into your mobile app, then within the settings menu, click 'Biometric approval' and select 'Register now'. Read the privacy statement and confirm if you are happy to proceed.

When it's time to take your photo, align your face in the frame to activate the take photo button. Take the photo, then confirm you are happy with it. The mobile app will confirm the image is stored and you're ready to use biometric approval.

Why can’t I register for biometric approval?

This service is being rolled out to our mobile customers. Continue to use your Mobile App as normal and we'll prompt you when its available to you.

This service is not available to customers under the age of 16.

I failed to register my face biometric, how can I improve my chances?

There are a few steps to improve your chances of registering your face biometric:

  • Try and replicate the conditions under which you were able to register your biometrics, i.e. use the same lighting, position and hold your phone in the same way in order to take your photo to authenticate
  • Keep your device upright (portrait not landscape) and out directly in front of you (approximately 30 cm/12 inches away from your face), with your face in the frame (blue oval should appear around your face)
  • Don’t let anything cover your face, like a mask, sunglasses, hats, or even your hands and hair
  • Choose a well, evenly lit space and a neutral background, try facing a window rather than having a window behind you

When registering your biometrics, you will need to have a passcode, FaceID or fingerprint to unlock your device as well as the app passcode.

I failed to use my face biometric, how can I improve my chances?

There are a few steps you can take to improve your chances of using your face biometric:

  • Keep your device upright (portrait not landscape) and out directly in front of you (approximately 30 cm/12 inches away from your face), with your face in the frame (blue oval should appear around your face)
  • Don’t let anything cover your face, like sunglasses, hats, or even your hands and hair
  • Choose a well, evenly lit space and a neutral background, try facing a window rather than having a window behind you
  • If you wear glasses, try removing them to allow the phone to see you blinking
  • Don’t forget to blink – it can help to over emphasise the blink so we definitely see it.

When registering your biometrics, you will need to have a passcode, FaceID or fingerprint to unlock your device as well as the app passcode.

If you have tried all of these steps then please try removing your biometrics by navigating to Biometric approval in the settings menu and selecting Remove biometrics. You will then be asked to confirm it is really you by using your face. Your biometrics will then be removed.

After removing your face biometrics please register your face again making sure the image is taken in a well, evenly lit space so that it is as clear as possible.

How does biometric work?

What can I approve with biometrics?

Biometric approval lets you:

  • Make payments over the £1000 mobile daily limit to someone new
  • Paying a new bill or utility
  • Pay future dated payments
  • Pay existing payees and change reference
  • Use as an alternative to card readers in online banking for authorising certain transactions
    • Change mobile number
    • Make a payment to someone new for the first time
    • Add payee
    • Change your payment limits
    • Bulk payments
    • Change email address (personal & business)
    • Change mobile number (business)
    • Amend bill payee via manage payee
    • Use as an alternative to card reader in Digital Banking for authorising these transactions
      • Set up standing order
      • Amend standing order
      • International payments
      • Change password
      • Change pin
      • Alerts

How does biometric approval work?

When we ask you to use your biometrics to approve something, we’re checking that it’s really you. You will be asked to present your face to the camera and then blink. We compare the sample you provide to the one that we have stored on our servers. If it’s a match you can then carry on and finish what you were doing.

What if I don’t want to use biometrics?

That’s okay, you can continue to use the same approval methods, such as the Card Reader, to authenticate your identity.

Where is my biometric data stored?

We have a Secure Banking Promise to you that means protecting your device and details. Your biometric identity is part of that. We’ll encrypt and store your biometrics within a strong and secure Royal Bank of Scotland database that no other business or individual can access.

How long is my biometric data stored for?

We keep your biometric data with your consent. We‘ll ask you to reconsent either 2 years after you last provided it, or if we make any changes to our privacy notice. We’ll provide you a window of opportunity to reconsent. If you don’t, we’ll automatically remove your biometric data.

What’s the difference between these biometrics for the Royal Bank of Scotland app and Touch or Face ID?

When you record your fingerprint or face with your device, the fingerprint / face biometric stays in a secure area of that specific device and provides a useful alternative to the traditional passcode / password.

By registering your face biometric with the Royal Bank of Scotland app we can match any future authentication attempts on any of your registered devices directly against what we’ve got stored on our servers.

What do I do with my card reader once I have registered for biometrics?

You should retain your card reader as you will still require it to complete some actions.

How do I use my biometrics to process a transaction on Digital Banking?

When you are logged into Digital Banking and are processing one of the following transactions you will be asked to approve the request on your mobile app if registered for biometrics:

  • Pay someone new for the first time
  • Add payee
  • Increase payment limits
  • Change mobile number (personal)

If you have push notifications enabled, you can access the list of requests on your mobile app that have to be approved. If not, you can access them through the home screen.

You should click on the request to approve or decline then you will be asked to return to online banking.

Biometrics and my phone

Is my phone compatible for biometric approval?

We’ve made it easy. All you need is a forward-facing camera for face biometrics.

There are a limited number of devices that can on sometimes struggle to register or use your face biometric. This is because the device doesn’t have enough processing power or memory.

There are also a limited number of Android devices that we can’t support. If your device is affected by this, you won’t see the biometric approval feature.

What if I change or lose my phone?

Don’t panic. As the biometric is securely stored within Royal Bank of Scotland servers and not on the individual app, there’s no potential data loss from losing your phone.

When you set up the Royal Bank of Scotland app on a new phone, you’ll be asked to match your face to those that we hold. Then, you’ll be ready to carry on using your biometrics to confirm it’s really you.

What happens if I change the way I look?

If you grow your hair long or cut it all off, even if you grow a beard, the technology is looking at the features of your face and the relative positioning to each other. It turns this into a template that we use to match against, so please feel free to be you.

In the unlikely event you do feel a change to how you look requires you to record an updated face biometric with us, then please first remove the existing face biometric and register a new one.

Can someone just use a photo of me?

No. The biometric process is sophisticated and secure behind the scenes. It’s not just ‘a photo’. So, don’t worry about someone using a photo to try and match to your face biometric.

Don't want to use Biometrics anymore

What if I decide I don’t want to use my biometrics anymore?

They’re your biometrics, and you are in control. Simply go to ‘Biometric approval’ in the settings section of the app and select ‘Remove biometrics’. You’ll then be asked one last time to confirm it is really you by using your face and that’s it. Your biometrics will then be removed from our servers.

Why is Biometric Approval required for small mobile payments?

It is an additional measure to help prevent fraud on your account. By signing up to biometric approval, you are agreeing to introduce further security checks to help stop a fraudster from making payments from your account. Once the payment has been made you will not need to prove your identity again to pay the same payee, unless you choose to change the reference.

Known issues

I am in Digital Banking why can't I use the camera on my laptop to authenticate transactions?

When you use facial biometrics, we ask you to blink to authenticate a transaction, so we can make sure it’s you. The mobile app allows us to capture your blink, which isn’t something built-in laptop cameras can do.

Similar to how the card reader is a separate device used to confirm your card PIN, the mobile app is a separate device used to confirm your facial biometrics.

What are some warning or error messages I may encounter during registration or authentication?

Registration

If the captured photo does not meet the standards required when it is checked during registration then this will be the warning message that will appear:

Authentication

If the blink is not seen within 30 seconds or the quality of the capture is not sufficient for it to be checked against the stored biometric then this will be the warning message that will appear:

If the blink is not seen on the fourth failed attempt at authentication you will receive the following message. If there is a fifth attempt to authenticate, you will be locked out of the app.

If the selfie captured does not match up to the one we have on file for you then this is the message which will appear:

What are some known issues with biometrics?

Registration

Here are some of the known registration issues:

  • The confirmation that you can register for biometric approval can take up to 30 seconds after mobile login. Therefore, please come out of biometric approval and then re-enter it if you are seeing the “you cannot register at this time message”
  • If you are using Digital Banking then you will need to log out and log back in after registration and then you will be able to use your biometrics to authorise transactions

Authentication

Blink authentication can be a little tricky so we are making this easier. However, you should:

  • Make sure you are in good lighting, without light directly behind you
  • Blink a few times or exaggerate the blink
  • Removing glasses can also help

Paying an existing payee on the mobile app with biometrics

Using biometrics to authenticate the 'Pay existing payees' or 'Change a reference' feature is currently unavailable. We are working to get this feature switched back on for Android and released for iOS but no timescale is available at the moment.

Approve a transaction banner or other data items are missing

There is a very rare occurrence of customers logging into their mobile app to authenticate an eBanking or eCommerce transaction and the 'Approve a transaction' banner being missing which prevents completion of the transaction. There can also be other menu items missing upon login eg Biometric approval, Credit score, Third party permissions (Open Banking) and Home screen preferences (Loyalty cards). We are working on fixing this, but in the meantime this issue can be resolved by logging out of the mobile app and logging back in so that the missing items can be loaded correctly.