National Australia Bank (NAB) is gearing up to launch a SMS-based mobile banking service that will enable customers to access account information using their mobile handsets.
NAB's executive general manager, retail banking, Andrew Thorburn, says the SMS Banking service will let customers request balances, view mini statements and transfer funds between their own accounts.
The bank is encouraging customers to sign up for a free trial of the service on its Web site.
The new service, to be launched in April, will be available on all the bank's new personal transaction accounts and credit cards.
"If you can send an SMS from your mobile phone then you will be able to use NAB SMS Banking," says Andrew Thorburn, GM, retail banking, NAB.
Thorburn says the bank spoken with its customers and researched international experience before deciding to launch the technology in Australia.
"Our own customers have told us that they want to be able to transfer funds and manage their accounts when they are on the go," says Thorburn. "With an estimated 20 million mobile phones in Australia and 85% of mobile phone owners saying they use text messages, SMS Banking provides the perfect solution."
Earlier this month ANZ Bank said it is piloting a full-service mobile banking service. In addition to the text-based functions provided by the NAB service, the ANZ system will also enable customers to transfer funds to other people.
Last August NAB outlined plans to work with Visa and wireless operator Telstra on a mobile payments trial. The trial, set for later this year, will enable users to make contactless payments by waving their handset over readers at participating merchants.