NatWest's WAP services will appeal to all

Fresh from its takeover battles, NatWest has emerged with plans to get mums on the Net

High street bank NatWest announced its WAP banking service on Thursday, becoming the latest major UK institution to announce plans for the technology.

NatWest has partnered with Orange to offer a sample 200 customers access to full banking services over a WAP-enabled mobile phone. The service will go live in April.

Customers will be able to check their balances, transfer money between accounts, pay bills and view the most recent 12 transactions. They will also receive SMS alerts notifying them, for example, when their balance reaches a certain level.

A spokesman says that once NatWest has "seen how things go", it will roll the service out to the rest of its customers in the second half of the year. WAP banking services will play a key role in the bank's portfolio, and it expects them to appeal to "everyone from the small businessman to the working mum", according to the spokesman.

Analysts see banking services as one of the killer apps in the WAP space, and UK banks, having already seen high levels of success with their PC and Internet banking services, are quickly ramping up their mobile plans. The Woolwich was the first to go live earlier this month. Halifax has announced that it will launch later this year.

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