PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Service Credit Union members don't have to remember usernames or passwords to access accounts and conduct transactions. If they own certain Apple devices, they just need a finger and an application called Touch ID.

"Members use your apps to accomplish a goal, and however that can be done most easily, that's the way the member wants it," said Service CU's Chief Information Officer William Arnold. "Cumbersome logins, non-intuitive navigations, overly complicated screens are all ways to turn users off."

Arnold noted that providing biometric authentication to members wasn't just for cost savings and efficiencies. The $2.6 billion CU views this technology as an opportunity to simplify the authentication process, while also strengthening the security of the app.

"Often, we have to increase security at the expense of convenience, but in this case, it felt like we were increasing both security and convenience for the member," he said.

Finger on the Pulse

On April 16, Service CU began offering Touch ID from Digital Insight. The CU has been a client of the Redwood City, Calif.-based company for about a decade, using the its digital banking solutions, including online banking, mobile web access and mobile apps.

The biometric authentication solution was offered to members who have the Apple iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus.

"Early data shows about 50% of customers/members who have an eligible device opt in," said Dan Weis, senior product manager at Digital Insight. "This data is pulled from our financial institution customers who are currently participating in the Touch ID pilot — both banks and credit unions."

With more than 207,000 members, Service CU had 111,731 active online bankers with 65,545 using a provided mobile service, according to Arnold. He added that 52,186 members used one of the phone apps (either iPhone or Android).

Since rolling out Touch ID (from April 16 through May 12), 6,729 accounts logged in 115,720 times using the biometric solution.

Arnold said that 28% of logins were from iPhone 5s, 48% from iPhone 6 and 24% from iPhone 6 Plus devices.

"We ran a small beta test, where a group of employees enabled the Touch ID functionality and tested it out. While it was a small group, it did provide coverage for the various devices for which this functionality is available."

Weis said minimal effort was required of Service CU and it 32-person IT department during beta testing and roll out. Aside from technical support, Digital Insight also provides end user marketing campaigns and other tools to advertise the new offering.

"On the technical side of things, to get the feature, all our customers have to do is say yes and we take care of the heavy lifting," said Weis. "The only efforts that our financial institution customers must make are on the internal security and risk ends as well as educate employees and market it to members."

Biometric Future

Arnold explained that Touch ID is now immediately available to members when the app is downloaded. The member is then prompted to determine if they would like to use the new functionality or not.

"If the member has already set up Touch ID, it is extremely simple, since it rides the Touch ID that is already configured on the device," said Arnold. "If Touch ID is not already set up, iOS walks the member through that process."

Looking forward, Weis said more biometric offerings are on the horizon. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with EyeVerify, which would implement Eyeprint ID into Digital Insight mobile banking apps. Additionally, Digital Insight's DI Labs, a Silicon Valley incubator, is working on other new technologies for financial institutions.

"We recently announced smartwatch banking capability for Android Wear and we're currently experimenting with geo-location and beacons as well," said Weis. "Along with Touch ID, these new technologies mentioned give our customers the opportunity to tap into a younger demographic as well as early tech adopters that demand convenient and reliable banking solutions."

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