Woolwich first to WAP banking

100 lucky customers are given a Nokia 7110 for trials beginning in December

The UK's first Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) banking service is announced by the Woolwich Bank Monday.

Customers of Open Plan, the firm's personalised banking service, will gain secure access to their accounts using a WAP phone. Transactions will be transmitted from the phone to Woolwich's WAP server.

Trials of the service begin December, when 100 lucky customers will each be given a free Nokia 7110 with one year's service contract. They will then be able to access their accounts by using the kit to dial-up an ISP. In return they will provide feedback to the Woolwich on the service, which will be used in planning the deployment of the service to all its customers, expected by Q1 2000.

"We are starting with 100 customers to try out the interface of our own banking system," said a Woolwich spokesman, "we want to ensure the functionality is the same on all our different banking service channels."

Open Plan subscribers will be able to check balances on all of their accounts, transfer money between accounts, view current and investment statements, pay bills and issue instructions to set up direct debits or standing orders.