Abbey National switches on TV banking

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The Independent Online

Customers of Abbey National, the former building society, will today become some of the first people in the world to be able to do their banking via the television as well as over the internet.

Customers of Abbey National, the former building society, will today become some of the first people in the world to be able to do their banking via the television as well as over the internet.

The bank's digital TV service goes live today for some customers, with all of its e-banking registered customers with access to Sky able to use it by the end of the month.

The move allows Abbey to jump ahead in the intensely competitive arena of new media for banks and is part of its £8m e-commerce investment this year.

Ambrose McGinn, Abbey's director of e-commerce, said: "This offer makes us the first bank in the world to offer both interactive e-banking on both the internet and digital TV.

"The market is very competitive and we believe this gives us the advantage of being there first, as well as being able to offer customers the choice of banking through their branch, over the internet or via the telephone." Abbey is due to announce this week that its online arm has nearly 400,000 customers. Mr McGinn said he expects the service, which will be available on Open, the interactive TV service offered on Sky, will appeal to customers for whom the internet does not appeal. They will benefit from some of the lower rates available over the net.

HSBC also offers interactive banking through Open but the bank's internet service does not go live until August.

Customers who use Abbey's television e-banking service will be able to move money instantly between accounts, pay bills and set up standing orders.

Mr McGinn added: "E-banking on digital television is easy to use, quick and highly accessible. In fact, TV viewers will soon be as likely to use the ad break to pay bills as to make a cup of tea." Abbey plans to expand its e-banking service through digital television with NTL, Cable & Wireless, OnDigital and Telewest.

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