Capital One (COF) is allowing customers to access its mobile banking app with "pattern passwords" unique patterns traced on the screen of the phone with a finger.
The feature, billed as SureSwipe, is meant to ease the mobile banking authentication process by reducing so-called fat finger errors. The app also remembers the customer's username.
The pattern and the unique hardware identifier for the phone are stored in Capital One's security platform. The functionality is available now for phones that run on Apple's iOS operating system and will be extended to Android users in early 2014, the company said Thursday.
The step is part of a broader trend among banks of replacing forgettable passwords composed of letters and numbers with something easier for on-the-go consumers to remember.
Some, like Frost Bank, let people enter a 4-digit code to serve as a mobile app password, while other financial institutions let customers get their account balances without logging in.
Other banks are exploring biometrics like voice recognition and device fingerprinting to authenticate customers.