Nationwide mounts WAP offensive

Nationwide mounts WAP offensive

Nationwide is mounting a PR offensive to win over customers to its WAP banking service. The campaign has been inspired by the recent closure of Internet bank Egg's WAP-based phone banking system and comes amid faltering business confidence in the future commercial viability of the technology.

Egg quietly shutdown its WAP banking service in January this year after recruiting only a handful of sign-ups - totalling in the hundreds. Other banks have also reported disappointing uptake of the technology, which has suffered from a media backlash and been dismissed as over-hyped and overly-complicated.

By contrast, Nationwide claims to have attracted around 10,000 users to WAP banking since its launch five months ago and reports high satisfaction rates.

In a survey, 96% of Nationwide WAP users say they would definitely, or are likely, to recommend the service to a friend. Sixty-eight per cent find the WAP service very easy to use, and only one per cent say they are dissatisfied the service.

Nationwide is hoping to pick up on the general disaffection among customers of rival banks and is pitching its message directly to this market.

Egg's WAP banking service was used to alert customers to share price changes and to direct consumers to bargains at Egg's online shopping mall. The bank says it is providing equivalent services using simple SMS text messaging - a technology which has proved popular among banking customers.

Egg says that it remains committed to investing in future mobile services and will now concentrate its efforts on 2.5 and 3G technologies.

Nationwide currently has no plans for offering SMS alerts to customers.

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