The UK's Abbey National Bank has switched on a fully interactive TV banking service for subscribers to Telewest's Active Digital cable platform.
Abbey National and Telewest customers can now obtain online statements, check their balances, transfer money instantly between accounts, pay bills and set up standing orders 24 hours a day all year round. For more personal advice, users are given a click button option to request an instant call back from an Abbey National advisor.
A Windows-style screen display enables users to continue watching TV programmes while reviewing their financial status. 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.
Ambrose McGinn, director of e-commerce for Abbey National says: "The humble television has been eclipsed in recent years by the Internet, but the rapid growth of interactive services means that at last, television is coming back to the future."
Abbey National recently launched basic digital banking information services with ONDigital and NTL. Both are expected to go fully interactive in the new year.
McGinn believes TV has huge potential and is being completely redefined. "With predictions that a massive 26 million people will be able to carry out financial transactions by 2003, it is set to become the major distribution channel for our customers."
Currently over 150 content partners are part of the interactive TV 'Walled Garden' service, making Telewest's platform the largest operational service in the UK. By November, Telewest had signed up 315,000 Active Digital customers. Prices for digital TV, interactive services, TV email start from £9 a month including the cost of telephone line rental.