Abbey National has launched a new banking channel on Open the interactive TV service on BSkyB.
All customers who sign up for the service will be able to check balances, move money between accounts, pay bills and set up overdrafts without rising from their armchair.
The launch marks the latest step in Abbey National's push into the TV banking market, having signed up with more partners in this area than any other UK bank. Over the coming year, the bank will take its service into four million homes as a result of deals struck with NTL, Cable and Wireless, OnDigital and Telewest.
Together with internet banking, Abbey National expects TV banking to have dramatic results on the business; Abbey National's own research from North America indicates that the provision of e-banking increases product-holdings per customer by up to 150%, and improves customer retention by up to 50%.
Furthermore, with the cost of simple transactions online being only a fraction (and in some cases as little as 5%) of the cost in traditional channels, the service will achieve significant cost efficiency benefits for the company in the medium term.
Ambrose McGinn, Abbey National's director of retail e-commerce, says: "With 98 per cent of UK households already having a television, and predictions that a massive 9 million adults in the UK will be able to carry out financial transactions via TV by 2003, we believe that interactive digital television will become the major distribution channel for our customers.
Abbey National also announced the launch of its new e-Bond, a one-year fixed rate bond paying a guaranteed return of 6.40% gross p.a. The bond, issued as a limited offer, is available exclusively over the Internet with a minimum opening balance of £1,000 and will mature on 1 September 2001.