Options Direct, which trades under the name of MyBroker, already has a Web-based service, and will allow account...
holders who have Wap-enabled phones to deal in 100 pre-selected stocks.
Pre-selection is done through a fixed-line PC, then users enter the Options Direct Web site using a user name and password. Further passwords can also be entered to boost security, but Options Direct will still have to reassure users over the security of the system.
Options Direct chairman Jean-Paul Thwaytes acknowledges that hackers could get hold of passwords to order large numbers of shares, but says ownership of these shares would not end up in the wrong hands, as the Wap transaction is only end-to-end and not two-way.
This means deals will be confirmed and completed over a separate line. But there could still be problems for users having to prove they didn't order the shares.
Unauthorised use from a different device alerts the legitimate user's phone, telling them their account is active, so they have some chance of preventing the trades.
Thwaytes says most users will use their phones with personal digital assistants, rather than just relying on the phone's small screen.