First Direct trials video call phone banking

First Direct, the HSBC-owned direct bank, is to trial “video call” mobile phone banking with third-generation (3G) operator 3.

Chris%20PillingFirst Direct, the HSBC-owned direct bank, is to trial "video call" mobile phone banking with third-generation (3G) operator 3.

It is the first initiative of its kind in the UK and will allow First Direct staff to take video calls from customers over the 3 network. The move is part of a mobile banking pilot, starting later this week, which aims to explore what consumers want from mobile phone banking. Customers subscribing to First Direct’s text banking service have been issued 3 phones to trial the service. A made-for-mobile banking website,, has also been developed.

First Direct chief executive Chris Pilling (pictured) says: "Our aim is to create services that use cutting edge technology to meet real customer needs."

First Direct invented 24-hour telephone banking in the UK in 1989, adding internet and text message services in 1999. Last month, with parent company HSBC, it began offering on-demand mobile banking via the Monilink network. It now sends around 40 million texts to customers every year.

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