NatWest has announced a deal with portal Yahoo! UK that will give the bank's customers access to their accounts over the Internet.
The deal, announced Thursday, is part of a broader agreement that sets the Yahoo! home page as the preferred starting point for NatWest's free ISP service and has been hailed as a first for Europe.
Starting in October, NatWest customers will be able to access balance and statement information through their personalised My Yahoo! page or Yahoo! Finance. If they want to transfer funds, or do anything that involves transactions, users have to go to NatWest Online -- also due in October.
Asked whether NatWest customers would be worried about using an online banking system in the light of recent high profile cracks a spokesman said, "if you're referring to Hotmail, well, Hotmail isn't a bank. If we were at all concerned that we didn't offer a secure system, we wouldn't put it out there, we're a bank and we understand security."
Far from a glib marketing response, NatWest's confidence over security may have some foundation in truth. Adam Daum, senior analyst with Gartner Group Dataquest, said his company had research that suggests consumers trust banks on security issues just because they are banks. "The natural thing to expect is that the Hotmail event would knock consumer confidence, but people think banks are secure no matter where they are, just because they are banks."
Asked if he would use a Web-based banking service Daum said he would be "happier" using a service running on a private network, rather than a Web-based one. "I think banks need to make a clear statement about what they would do if there were a security issue, like, say, a fraud."
What you get
- Free Internet access through NatWest's new ISP, powered by BTClick
- Real-time Internet share dealing
- Online account access via Yahoo! Finance and My Yahoo!
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