10/01/2014 03:42 EDT | Updated 12/01/2014 05:59 EST

Tangerine Banking App To Add Biometric Security Features

TORONTO - Smartphone users who bank with Tangerine will soon find some new options on their mobile app, including voice recognition and fingerprint scanning.

The Canadian bank, which operates without neighbourhood branches, has unveiled a number of biometric features that will roll out this year, as it focuses on being a leader in mobile banking technology.

New voice banking software on the banking app will allow clients to ask questions and receive information like their account balances and how much money they spent at a specific store.

The feature includes voice authentication technology that lets a client access their account by using a specific phrase they've selected. It will be available next month for Apple iPhones running the latest operating system update and later for phones using the Android system.

Fingerprint recognition on iPhones will also be incorporated into the app for an extra layer of security, in addition to a password.

Canadian banks are increasingly focused on appealing to tech-savvy consumers. CIBC (TSX:CM) became the first to launch a mobile banking app in 2010 and two years later unveiled a mobile payment app that lets customers tap their phones at cash registers.

Tangerine was the first Canadian bank to introduce mobile cheque deposits, which let smartphone users snap a picture to put they money into their account.

Since then, several other big banks have incorporated similar technology into their apps.

Tangerine, which was acquired by Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) two years ago when it was called ING Direct, has tried to differentiate itself from other banks by operating primarily online. The bank also has several "cafes" in major cities across the country to keep a physical presence in key markets.


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