The UK's Abbey National has switched on an interactive television banking service for subscribers to the ONdigital and NTL networks.
Having signed up with more TV partners than any other UK bank, Abbey National says it will take its accounts and services into more than four million homes by the end of 2000, rising to nine million by the end of 2003.
Customers using the new ONdigital and NTL services will be able to order leaflets, request an instant call back from an Abbey National adviser and browse for information on Abbey National accounts and services on their TV sets. Early next year, fully interactive e-banking will be available on both services, says the bank, allowing customers to view balances, transfer money, set up standing orders and pay bills.
Research among customers already using Abbey National's television service on Open (the interactive TV service on BSkyB) has shown that the peak usage times are just before Emmerdale starts off the evening soap run at 7.00pm during the week, and between 9.00am and 10.00am on Sundays.
The research also reveals that a third of households own two TV sets, just under a quarter (23%) have three sets and six per cent have more than five TVs in the house.
Ambrose McGinn, director of retail e-commerce at Abbey National, says: "Television banking is dramatically changing the relationship we have with our TV sets and the way we manage our money. Given that 98% of UK households already have a television, whilst only one in four has a PC, we believe that interactive digital TV will become the major distribution channel for our customers."
Abbey National's research shows that almost half (47%) of all adults would be likely to use their TVs to access their bank or building society account simply by pressing a button on their remote control.