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Cingular Wireless has a new deal in the works with Firethorn, a mobile
banking company. The idea is that users would be able to download and
install software onto their phones that will allow them to perform basic
banking services such as checking account balances, transferring
money, paying bills, etc. While this is nothing new for the rest of the
world, Cingular would be the first company to implement this service
network wide in the United States. The new service is set to be available sometime in the first part of 2007.
According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, online banking is used by around 45 percent of Internet users, much more than the 15 percent in 1998. So Cingular is hoping that Internet bankers will easily transition from checking their balance via their computers to checking their balance via their cellphones. At this point, the company does not plan on charging an additional fee for the new service, hoping instead to use it as a way to retain existing subscribers while attracting new customers.
Though before any of this can work like Cingular hopes, banks have to agree to offering the service. So far Cingular hasn’t announced any deals with banks, but it claims it’s in talks with several. Security is likely the concern stopping banks from adopting the service quickly. Thus, Firethorn is working to dispel the lack-of-security belief by boasting a system that includes “an intricate password and identification setup” claiming that the service is at least as secure as current online banking.
Cingular says that the new banking service will work
on the majority of its handsets and that participating
banks will have the software available for download from their respective websites. Once installed, Cingular subscribers will have one more way to handle their banking needs.