Cingular planning mobile banking service

Nov 15 2006 - 12:47 AM ET | Cingular

Cingular Wireless is in negotiations to launch a mobile banking service next year. The application would allow Cingular customers to perform basic banking operations such as check balances and make bill payments right from a mobile phone. Mobile banking has caught on in other regions, but has not even had a major push in the US market. Online banking has proven to be popular though, with 45% of internet users reporting they used such services in 2005.

Like most things, the devil is in the details. Cingular is currently in talks with several baking institutions. For the service to be successful it will have to work with a number of banks. The likely scenario is that the banks themselves would offer a downloadable application for Cingular users.

From a single, secure, Cingular-signed application, consumers will be able to view account balances, transfer funds, receive and pay bills, and quickly clear contents if their mobile device is ever lost or stolen. And because Firethorn is a downloadable application, consumers can perform functions on all supported Cingular handsets, even when the device is offline.

Firethorn Holdings is Cingular's partner on the project. The firm specializes in mobile banking and Cingular would be its first US carrier partner. The deal isn't exclusive though, Firethorn is actively courting other carriers in the US.