NAB has followed ANZ by taking the plunge into mobile banking, introducing a text message banking service which has already signed up 1,100 users since its introduction yesterday.
The service, called SMS Banking, allows users to text a number to request and receive account balances, mini statements, and transfer funds between linked NAB accounts.
Users are asked to give their accounts nicknames known only to them when they register for the service, a NAB spokesperson said. These nicknames are used in the SMS to request account balances or transfer money. "Obviously there is an onus on the user to clear out their sent messages" for security purposes, the spokesperson said.
Once the text has been received, the NAB system picks up on the nicknames and does the necessary transfers.
NAB will send a reply within 10 seconds of receiving the initial SMS, according to the company. The bank will then process any desired fund transfers within 10 seconds of receiving confirmation from the user that the transfer amount and account is correct. However, the bank said that any delays in the process may come from the mobile service provider.
The system has been put into place to stop those "oh no" moments, according to Andrew Thorburn, NAB's executive general manager retail. "You can instantly check to see if there's enough money in your account to pay that bill, buy those groceries or treat yourself to a new pair of shoes," Thorburn said in a statement.
SMS Banking can be used in Australia and overseas via roaming.
Using SMS Banking is free until 1 November, apart from the cost of the SMS. After that an account balance enquiry will cost AU$0.25, a mini-statement AU$0.25, and a funds transfer AU$0.40.
While ANZ's mobile banking service also offers the possibility of transferring up to AU$1,000 to non-linked accounts, NAB SMS Banking won't offer this function. The spokesperson for the bank said at this stage NAB wanted to keep the system simple, but it could be a possibility in the future.
Other recent NAB moves in mobile banking include SMS authentication — if a user makes a payment outside of their own accounts, a unique password is sent via SMS to complete the payment — and near field communications — a technology which allows users to pay for goods by placing their mobile phone on a reader.