Magazine article American Banker

Bank of Scotland Tests Mobile Phone Service

Magazine article American Banker

Bank of Scotland Tests Mobile Phone Service

Article excerpt

PARIS -

Bank of Scotland says it has become the first bank in the United Kingdom to offer its customers banking services through mobile phones that run on the Wireless Application Protocol.

WAP is a worldwide standard for providing Internet communications and advanced telephone services on digital mobile phones, pagers, personal digital assistants, and other wireless terminals. Though few people have telephones that are embedded with WAP technology, many telephone makers are promoting wireless products, and in late February Bank of Scotland gave WAP phones away to about 50 consumer and business customers for a pilot.

The phones let those customers do their banking through Bank of Scotland's BoSinternet.com service. They can also get news online through an arrangement with BT Cellnet's Genie Internet portal.

BT Cellnet, of Leeds, England, has seven million customers and is a partner in Bank of Scotland's WAP phone project along with International Business Machines Corp.

Gordon W. Sharpe, director of e-business at Bank of Scotland, said the pilot customers have "reacted well" and have described the service as convenient, easy-to-use, and safe.

"We invited them to join us," he said. "We're migrating our customers to WAP so they can take up any channel and any device to access us."

Users can press buttons on the phones to view their Bank of Scotland accounts, transfer money between accounts, and order currency and travelers checks. The banking company plans to add stock trading, bill payment, and messaging to the service. "For instance, we will be able to notify a customer if he is about to overdraw on an account," Mr. Sharpe said.

The 305-year-old banking company, based in Edinburgh, is Europe's oldest clearing bank and one of the first to offer new technologies. …

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