CBA launches mobile banking

The Commonwealth Bank yesterday launched its mobile banking service, the first in Australia.

The service was originally expected to be available in September.

Called MobileBank, CBA is partnering with mobile phone operator Vodafone to make banking services including account balance, bill paying and funds transfer available to mobile phones.

Officials said Vodafone and CBA customers can access the service using the latest Nokia or Ericsson mobile phones, a phone banking password and a special SIM card.

Using Short Message Service (SMS) technology, messages are encrypted and transmitted between the customer's mobile phone and CBA.

SMS technology, combined with SIM Toolkit technology was selected over WAP (wireless application protocol) to ensure an appropriate level of security is available, officials said.

According to officials, Vodafone will offer the service for free until March 31, 2000. The usual flat charge of 24 cents per text message will apply as an introductory offer from March. Standard electronic banking transaction fees will also apply.

Additional features including salary payment notification and credit limit notification will be added in the future, officials said.

Vodafone launched mobile banking in the UK in 1996 and is developing services in South Africa, New Zealand and Sweden.

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