PDA banking arrives Nationwide

Mobile banking takes a step closer, as long as you've got a Pocket PC PDA, not a Palm

The Nationwide Building Society will allow customers to access details of their accounts by using a personal digital assistant (PDA) from Thursday, in what the company claims is Europe's first Internet banking service for PDAs.

Users of "Bank Anywhere" will be able to check the balance of their account, and read a mini-statement covering the last ten transactions, by using a PDA running Microsoft's Pocket PC 3.0. A phone connection is also required to access the Nationwide Web site -- either via infra-red to a mobile phones, or to a land line connection using a modem.

Details about current accounts, loans and mortgages will also be available, as will credit card statements.

Nationwide claims to have stolen a march on its rivals in Europe with this mobile Internet banking service, and promises to improve "Bank Anywhere" next year.

"This is a European first and we look forward to rolling out an increasingly comprehensive range of mobile Internet services in 2001. Future enhancements to this service will include the ability to pay bills, transfer money between accounts and apply for accounts online", explained Nationwide chief executive Brian Davis in a statement.

Several PDAs use Microsoft's Pocket PC platform, including Hewlett-Packard's and the Compaq iPAQ.

French manufacturer Sagem announced the WA3050 in November - a GPRS-capable PDA running Pocket PC 3.0. The WA3050, due to hit the shops in early 2001, would be able to access Nationwide's "Bank Anywhere" without having to use a land line or mobile to dial onto the Net.