How can we help you?

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:

  • 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 couple of 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 clearly

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 these steps, then please try removing your biometrics by navigating to Biometric approval in the settings menu and then select Manage biometrics followed by face 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.

What are some warning or error messages I may encounter during registration and/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:

If the service is unavailable, then the error shown will be:

Device not compatible - registration

If you receive this message it is because the device you are using to register your biometrics is not compatible with the technology we use for biometric approval. You can try to register using another device.

Authentication

This error shows when we’ve not been able to check the biometric against the database:

If the quality of the image capture is not sufficient for it to be checked against the stored biometric then this will be the error message that will appear:

You will receive the message 'One attempt left’ on the fourth failed attempt and if there is a fifth attempt that fails, you will be locked out of the app:

Device not compatible – authentication

If you receive this message this is because we have updated the technology we use for Biometric approval. Unfortunately the update is not compatible with the cameras on some older devices. This means you will need to upgrade to a newer device to be able to use Biometric approval.

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 Anytime Internet 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

Authentication can be a little tricky. You should:

  • Make sure you are in good lighting, without light directly behind you
  • Look directly at the camera with face in the centre of the oval
  • Removing glasses can also help

How does biometric approval work?

What can I approve with biometrics?

Biometric approval lets you prove it's really you when you want to:

  • Make a payment in the mobile app, to someone new or when changing a payee reference
  • Make an international payment in the mobile app
  • Change your personal details in the mobile app, such as your home address
  • Increase your limits
  • View your PIN
  • View your card details
  • Use as an alternative to card readers in Anytime Internet Banking (you will have 4 minutes to approve or decline the request in their mobile app. If you don’t approve within 4 minutes then the transaction/payment will be cancelled. You need to return to Anytime Internet Banking after approving the transaction)
  • Make a payment through Open Banking to new beneficiaries (you will have 4 minutes to approve or decline the request in the mobile app. If you don’t approve within 4 minutes then the transaction/payment will be cancelled. You need to return to Open Banking after approving the transaction)

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 face the camera. 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.

What’s the difference between these biometrics for the Ulster Bank 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 Ulster Bank 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 Anytime Internet Banking?

When you are logged into Anytime Internet 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:

  • 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
  • Set up standing order
  • Amend standing order
  • International payments
  • Change password
  • Change PIN
  • Alerts

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 Anytime Internet Banking.

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

When you use facial biometrics, we ask you to authenticate a transaction, so we can make sure it’s you.

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 biometrics.

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 Ulster Bank servers and not on the individual app, there’s no potential data loss from losing your phone.

When you set up the Ulster Bank 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.

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.

Why do I need to use Biometric Approval for an existing payee?

You use biometric approval on an existing payee when either:

  • the reference is changed
  • that payee has not been paid with Biometric approval / Card Reader before

In both cases an SMS is sent informing you of a change to the payee.

About my Biometrics

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.

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, except your photo which we'll keep for a period of time for fraud prevention reasons.

You’ll no longer be able to use biometric approval on your Ulster Bank app and will have to use approval methods that aren’t as secure.

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 Ulster Bank database that no other business or individual can access.

How long is my biometric data stored for?

When your consent to store your biometrics expires, or if we make changes to the privacy notice, we’ll ask you to opt in again. All you need to do is read and accept the latest privacy notice to opt back in. If you don’t opt in within 9 months from first being asked your biometrics will be automatically removed and you’ll revert back to other approval methods that aren’t as secure. You’ll still be able to register for biometric approval again.

What do you mean by biometric data?

Biometrics is the term used for unique physical characteristics such as your fingerprints or face.

We use the latest technology to process the photo of your face and create your biometric data which can be used to confirm it’s really you.

The actual photo of your face that you take to register for biometric approval is not biometric data as it remains in its unprocessed original format.

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