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Monday, 8 May, 2000, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Halifax, BT in internet banking deal
Halifax
Halifax is expanding its online potential
The UK's largest mortgage lender, Halifax, has signed a deal with BT Cellnet to provide customers with free Wap mobile phones.

Under the agreement, BT Cellnet will provide Wireless Application Protocol mobile phones to Halifax's 'Intelligent Finance' unit to be launched in July.

The phones, which give wireless access to the internet, will be made available free to the first 150,000 customers who take out a salary-funded current account and a credit card with the bank.

The deal underlines the growing competition between banks to increase their client base through online banking and between phone companies offering internet services via mobile phones.

Abbey National internet service

Indeed, on Monday rival Abbey National launched its new banking service on the internet.

It expects 1 million customers to sign up for the service within a year.

The new venture will allow customers to carry out a range of banking services on the web. They will be able to check their balances and pay bills, among other things.

The service will also eventually be available through interactive services on digital television.

In the Halifax BT deal, Intelligent Finance customers will be able to check their balances and transfer funds or pay bills on the move or at home.

"New technology means new ways of banking, and we aim to be at the forefront of that change," said James Crosby, Halifax chief executive.

"This deal with BT Cellnet gives us very significant first mover advantage in mobile banking and we intend to keep it," he said.

Abbey National said its service would allow customers to have more choice and deliver significant cost benefits for the bank.

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See also:

02 May 00 | Business
BT in Wap phone trouble
26 Apr 00 | Business
BT enters broadband arena
20 Mar 00 | Business
Banking on the net
17 Feb 00 | Business
Halifax to offer online insurance
15 Nov 99 | Business
Why banks love online customers
27 Oct 99 | The Company File
Abbey plans new e-bank
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