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Could Apple solve the digital identity issue?

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Every day I am finding security on my banking transactions more and more annoying. The reason? I have to confirm via a secondary approval the transaction; I then have to confirm the secondary approval with the vendor with a further secondary approval with the financial provider; I then have to process a further approval through an SMS from the financial provider; I then have to confirm everything in the app to say it was me; and so on and so on and so on.


On the one hand, I agree that security is key; on the other, it is clear that our system is broken, it does not work, it is user unfriendly and, to be clear, it is rubbish.

What do we need to do?

Well, the best experiences are where things work smoothly. This is clear when you logon to sites and services using facial recognition, by way of example. It therefore is clear that the one company who can probably solve our security issues is … Apple.

Apple, after all, has solved many other issues, such as how to take an MP3 player into a music player into a phone. Why wouldn’t Apple take their other innovations – FaceID and fingerprint access – into a bank killer app.

I’ve always said that Apple and their brethren would never become a bank, but the current state of banking access, signon, onboarding and operation is not working in the digital age. So, what would I do if I was running Apple’s financial strategy?

Well, the start point would have to be that signon, verification, authentication and approval process. There is no way that someone should have to move between two or three apps with swipes and confirmations. It should be a simple process based on verification and authentication of your location (GPS), face, fingerprint and, if needed, a PIN. All of these things are easy, and it should not involve multiple apps. In fact, what is truly irritating, is that you need to leave one app to swipe another app to approve the process in the first app.

That means, if I were Apple, I would look at that whole process of approval and security and rethink it. The rethinking? Everything happens seamlessly in the background based upon your location and biometric ID. No switching between apps; no additional action needed; it just gets done.

How would this work?

The core would be your location setting and biometric, and this would be an API that’s open to be used in all apps. Result: no secondary authentication or verification. It just gets done.

The issue today is that banks are adding this additional processing because banks do not trust users or Apple. But what if Apple guaranteed that a bank could trust them to process the transaction? What if Apple said: we can do this! What if Apple told banks that their security and processing was bulletproof?

I’m guessing Apple would not do this as the risks are too great but, if they did, it would be a gamechanger as our apps and systems today are broken and do not work. It makes me think what if Android did this or Samsung? Someone needs to do this as the rewards are too great. Do what? Someone needs to rethink our mobile and online services, our digital access and networking, and make it simpler, easier and more seamless.

Oh, and by the way, if someone wants someone to help them do that … I’m here!

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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