RealTime IT News

Westpac Goes Wireless

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Westpac Banking Corporation and Telstra have launched a joint Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Internet banking service.

Westpac expects the service to revolutionize banking, allowing customers to view their account list, check account balances and transfer funds over their WAP enabled mobile phone.

Westpac's head of eStrategy Harry Wendt said the initiative was the first working model in the Australian marketplace and one of the first worldwide.

"It clearly signals the future direction of banking," he said. "With 82 percent of our Internet customer base telling us they are interested in using the WAP service for Internet banking, we are looking forward to fulfilling the pent up demand," said Wendt.

Westpac has successfully trialed the WAP service over the first half of 2000 and has co-developed a security server with Telstra to ensure a channel of security between the bank's 335,000 online banking customers and the Telstra WAP gateway.

"Customers expect timely and relevant applications and our association with Westpac helps us to deliver this to our customers, bringing the concept of 'accessing their world any time anywhere' closer to reality," said Telstra's general manager of wireless multimedia programs Greg van Mourik.

Westpac said in the future the bank was planning customized notification services as a value-added service to banking.

"The range of WAP devices and services offered is expanding dramatically, increasing access and control for our customers," said Wendt. "WAP is the emerging global standard, it supports a range of devices other than just mobile phones, plus it is carrier and network independent."