The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - Stock Market -

THE abil­ity to check your bal­ance on your mo­bile phone is ar­guably use­ful. But is it use­ful enough that con­sumers will take the time to down­load a piece of soft­ware to do so?


MONI­TISE of­fers a great ser­vice. Users can check their bal­ance, view a mini state­ment and add credit to mo­bile phones, via their mo­bile phones.

The com­pany has cho­sen the ob­vi­ous part­ner to launch such a ser­vice, form­ing a joint ven­ture with ATM net­work Link and its pay­ment pro­cess­ing part­ner Voca.

It has signed up a se­ries of banks, in­clud­ing HSBC, first di­rect, Al­liance & Le­ices­ter, Royal Bank of Scot­land, and NatWest, to the ser­vice. The other banks are likely to fol­low suit for fear of be­ing left be­hind.

Moni­tise has also part­nered with Voda­fone, Orange, O2, T- Mo­bile and Hutchi­son 3G and says its ser­vice will be ac­ces­si­ble to one third of cur­rent ac­count card hold­ers in Bri­tain this au­tumn.

The prob­lem is mak­ing those ac­count hold­ers care.

The banks them­selves could take up the cause and throw their mar­ket­ing spend be­hind mo­bile bank­ing, urg­ing cus­tomers to try this new and ex­cit­ing ser­vice.

Oth­er­wise, banks could use mo­bile phones for a sec­ond point of au­tho­ri­sa­tion for in­ter­net bank­ing. The idea be­ing that when you lo­gin to a site with your ac­count num­ber and pass­word, it would then send a code via Moni­tise soft­ware to your mo­bile phone, which users type into the site. They would then be forced to down­load the soft­ware in or­der to con­tinue in­ter­net bank­ing.

None of this has yet hap­pened. Banks are ap­par­ently in “ac­tive dis­cus­sions” about the so-called two fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion process, and Car­phone Ware­house has started pro­mot­ing the ser­vice, but there is some way to go.

Once mo­bile phone op­er­a­tors start pre-load­ing the soft­ware on to hand­sets, Moni­tise will have it made. But the phone op­er­a­tors do not want to be pre-load­ing soft­ware con­sumers do not want, so they will first need to see sig­nif­i­cant de­mand.

So far it has tens of thou­sands of users, and Moni­tise hopes to have hun­dreds of thou­sands by the end of the year.

In­vestors have been un­kind to the stock, which has tum­bled 38pc since the com­pany de­merged from Morse in June, with­out any sig­nif­i­cant news­flow. The prob­lem is there may not be any sig­nif­i­cant news­flow for some time.

Still, it seems in­evitable that we will even­tu­ally use our mo­biles for sim­ple bank­ing at least.

A risky buy.

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