US retail bank Citibank has launched a mobile banking application, called Citi Mobile, that customers can download to their hand sets.
Citi says its downloadable service is compatible with more than 100 mobile devices, across major US wireless carriers.
The Citi Mobile service, which is scheduled to launch in California this week, will be available to the bank's US retail customers by mid-year. Citi says it also plans a Spanish language version of the application.
At launch, customers will be able to sign up online and evetually via Citibank branches and by phone. Once enrolled, customers can download the mobile application and Citi icon to their personal handsets.
Through the Citi Mobile interface, clients will have immediate and secure access to accounts and can navigate through menus to view real-time balances, see account activity pay bills, set up future payments and transfer funds, find a branch or ATM and connect to customer service staff.
Transactions are secured with 128-bit encryption, says the bank, and no personal data is stored on the phone. The Citi Mobile can be deactivated instantly if the device is lost and stolen.
Maura Markus, president, Citibank North America, says: "For our clients, it's like having Citibank Online in the palm of their hand."
Earlier this year Citi said it was partnering California-based start-up Obopay to launch a pilot person-to-person mobile payment service for its credit and debit card customers. Participants can make person-to-person fund transfers after downloading the Obopay application their hand sets. As part of the service customers can pay for purchases using a companion debit card, which can also be used to withdraw funds at the ATM.
Last week Monitise, the mobile banking subsidiary of UK IT services group Morse, said it was teaming with American fintech vendor Metavante to launch and operate a wireless payments and banking network in the US.
Among the top tier, Bank of America and Wachovia have recently unveiled plans for national m-banking services, while Wells Fargo is understood to be experimenting with a number of alternative applications.