First 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, myfd.mobi, 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.