Fleet Launches Interactive Wireless Banking



True to its strategic objectives, FleetBoston Financial Corp. is using innovative technologies to provide convenient access to account information. The company Monday rolled out wireless banking and bill payment capabilities to consumers.

Customers with handheld PCs running the Palm operating system can use Fleet's HomeLink Online banking services to check account balances, credit histories, and Quick & Reilly investment account balances and details, all in real time. They can also schedule funds transfers, pay bills to current HomeLink payees, review and delete scheduled bill payments and transfers, and receive HomeLink alert messages.

Fleet is one of the first East Coast financial institutions to offer interactive wireless access to account information, according to Paul Jamieson, director of financial services at Gomez Inc. Other financial services providers, such as Citibank, allow online banking customers to set preferences and request E-mail alerts based on their specifications, but they don't give users the ability to tap into accounts directly from wireless devices.

Jamieson says the market for such interactive services will take time to mature, as consumers become more comfortable with banking online. "Consumers appreciate alerts, but cellular phones and other personal digital assistants aren't as user friendly as a PC."

While 36% of Fleet's approximately 1.4 million customers use online banking services, director of Internet banking Neal Wolfson doesn't expect them to flock to wireless alternatives just yet. But, he says, "the new services will help Fleet gauge the needs of its mobile customers."

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