Standard Bank has introduced a South African first in the form of fingerprint authentication for mobile banking for customers who make use of Touch ID enabled Apple smartphones and tablets. Biometrically-enabled Android handsets will also be to access the service at a later date.

The Biometric Banking App uses Apple’s fingerprint identity sensor to sign in. Anticipating fears around security, Standard’s Head of Mobile Banking, Magnus Taljaard, says customers’ safety is of utmost importance. “The new biometric identification feature… underwent rigorous testing so that we could ensure a safe and robust solution for our customers.”

He adds that the ability to sign in using the fingerprint sensor is supplemented with further security safeguards for certain transactions that include the payment a new beneficiary through the app.

Several South African banks have introduced fingerprint readers inside branches for authentication purposes, but Standard is the first we’re aware of in Africa to support mobile phone biometrics. US banks began allowing Apple’s Touch ID for login late last year, while two UK banks unveiled similar apps in February. So far, there’s no reports of accounts being hijacked by criminals fooling phone fingerprint readers approved by banks.

Back at Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm announced that its fingerprint reading technology will be built into future generations of its popular Snapdragon processors, increasing the number of phones with access to the tech.