Mobile bankers, start your cell phones! Cingular Wireless (now rebranded as the new AT&T) announced this week that it has inked deals with Wachovia, Regions Financial, SunTrust and BancorpSouth, to offer mobile banking, putting consumers closer to the goal of turning their cell phones into virtual credit cards.
As reported this week in various AP newswire reports, AT&T customers who bank with these financial institutions can use their cell phones to check account balances, transfer funds between accounts and pay bills, thanks to a new application developed by Firethorn. (A Firerthorn press release from March 28 also suggests that Verizon Wireless will soon follow with a mobile banking solution.)
As highlighted in the AP reports, the application downloads account and bill information to the handset, so customers can view account balances, transfer funds, and conduct bill-pay transactions. If a device happens to be lost or stolen, the data can be remotely cleared from the device.
Aside from data usage fees, AT&T will not charge customers for the service.
As the AP report cites, the longer-term goal is “baking-in” small transmitters in wireless devices for “contactless payments” similar to the way car windshield devices are used to pay bridge or highway tolls.
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