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Bank of America launches advanced mobile banking service

Antony Savvas

Bank of America’s 21 million online banking customers are being offered an advanced secure mobile banking service to allow them to check balances, pay bills and  transfer money.

The service is more advanced than many of the mobile banking schemes offered in the UK, with bill paying and money transfers being allowed.

The free service will be offered to online customers across the US. The service will be launched in Tennessee at the beginning of March and will be rolled out across the country from mid-year, said the bank.

"We are taking convenience and control to a new level by providing customers with the ability to stay connected with their finances when they're on the go," said Sanjay Gupta, e-commerce executive at Bank of America.

The service will be accessible to consumers who have mobile internet access via operators Verizon Wireless, Sprint-Nextel, Cingular and T-Mobile.

More than 85% of mobile phone subscribers in the US currently have the capability to access mobile internet through their cell phones, said the bank.

However, as in the UK, many US mobile users  have not enabled their mobile internet functionality on their phones, or do not use it.

Using the standard mobile browser on their phone, users of the service will be able to check account balances for current, savings and credit card accounts, as well as balances on mortgages and home equity lines held with Bank of America.

They will also be able to pay bills, transfer funds between Bank of America accounts, and view transaction details.

Customers accessing online banking from their mobile are protected with the bank's Sitekey security service, as well as its Zero Liability Online Banking Guarantee.

To help protect customer information, the bank has developed an end-to-end security feature that ensures information remains encrypted when sent between the mobile phone and the bank.

To activate mobile banking, customers register through the bank's online banking service at www.bankofamerica.com. Once registered, customers can begin using the internet browser on their mobile phone to access their accounts, similar to how they use their computer to access the same services.

Bank of America customers can already access locations of ATM and banking centres from their mobile phone browser. In addition, they can receive a variety of e-alerts via e-mail or as a text message on their mobile phone, that helps them detect possible fraud and keep track of their accounts.

Alliance & Leicester and HSBC in the UK have recently launched more limited mobile banking services.

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