Money: Ask your mobile how much money you have

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The Independent Online
MOBILE text messaging has been a solution looking for a problem since it arrived just over five years ago. Text messaging is unobtrusive and cheap, but only a minority of mobile phone customers use it.

Text messaging is now taking on a new lease of life as a way for people to communicate with their banks. This weekend, First Direct is launching a service that lets customers have information about their accounts sent to a Cellnet mobile phone.

The service sends customers the balance of two selected accounts twice a week, and details of their most recent transactions. The First Direct service is free for six months, and costs pounds 2.50 a month after that. This is a flat fee, and subscribers can request as many updates as they wish.

Over the next few months, the service will add extra functions, such as alerting users when a specific transaction takes place. This could be useful for anyone who is waiting for a payment to go out of an account or is expecting money to come in.

The Co-operative Bank operates a similar service for Vodafone subscribers. The Co-op's service has been around longer, and has more features, including mini-statements, balances, ordering a paper statement and checking Co-operative Bank Visa accounts.

Net profits

Internet stocks are the current hot ticket, and Framlington, the fund manager, has published a guide to investing in this market.

Framlington operates the Net Net fund, one of the first UK-based collective investments to focus specifically on the internet and related industries. Funds in this sector are already popular in North America; Framlington's Net Net fund is available here as a unit trust or with a tax-free ISA wrapper.

For a copy of the free guide e-mail Framlington at

Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: hi-tech-investor