The UK's first transactional mobile phone banking service launched today and First Direct go live today with the UK?s first transactional mobile phone banking service over GPRS.
Customers can sign up for on-demand, 24-hour access to banking services including mini-statements and balance enquiries through their mobile handset.
The new service also allows customers to top up their own or someone else's prepay mobile on the O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Tesco mobile networks.
The banks have launched a mobile phone banking platform developed by the UK's cash machine network LINK and its joint venture partner Monitise.
Customers need to download a small Java application onto their phone to use the service. Once registered and authenticated customers will have secure access to their accounts via their mobile phones.
Jonathan Entheridge, head of e-channels at First Direct/HSBC, says he never underestimates the value of new services and considers innovation in its own right as a business benefit.
?The service will produce cost savings from people going through our banking system rather than through a rival bank where we would have to pay a fee,? said Entheridge.
?It?s also good branding in front of the consumer when they are topping up their phone instead of going to the corner shop,? he said.
HSBC is First Direct?s parent organisation, which means a shared infrastructure has enabled a quick and straightforward roll-out.
?By making a small amount of changes to back-end systems we?ve been able to deploy this service across all HSBC/First Direct customers,? said Entheridge. ?It?s a very small IT investment to unlock a very innovative service and be first to market in the UK.'
First Direct pioneered text message banking seven years ago and has text alerts as triggers set on customers' accounts. More than 30 per cent of customers choose to receive weekly or monthly mini-statements and text alerts which can, for example, tell customers when their salary has been paid.