PHONE BANKING has been around for some time but this is something a bit different: First Direct actually calls you.

From next month the bank's customers will be able to get twice-weekly text messages, sent direct to their mobile phones, detailing their balances and the most recent transactions on their First Direct accounts.

The bank has been trialling the service since May with customers who bought BT Cellnet phones through the bank. But now all customers with mobiles are to get it free until next spring. It will remain free for those who bought their mobile phones through First Direct.

A number of other developments are planned for mobile phone banking: customers will soon be able to receive information on up to three accounts whenever they choose, or they can be messaged when an account reaches a pre-arranged limit.

There are more details on the bank's website: