Your phone is now a bank—or at least a debit card.
The Western Hemisphere sometimes comes late to the high-tech party. Such is the case with mobile banking, an established practice in Europe and Japan. Heck, you can pay by text in Belgium.
But fear not, American mobile phone users. Cingular is on the case. That would be AT&T, actually, for those keeping track of all the mergers and buyouts all across the land. AT&T has linked up with Wachovia, Regions Financial, BancorpSouth, SunTrust, and a host of other U.S. banks in what looks to be a giant program allowing mobile phone customers to use their phones instead of credit or debit cards. (If you think this sounds like something that Helio has already done, you’re right.
Cingular (which it was back then) has already done this, too, in a deal with Nokia in New York with Citi MasterCard. That was a preliminary exercise. This latest deal will expand on that experience considerably.
AT&T aims to continue to sign up banks and continue to improve on its existing software, which will soon be available for download for existing phones and which will be included on future phones.