Cingular to launch mobile banking

Cingular Wireless is planning on launching a mobile banking service early next year that would allow subscribers to check account balances, transfer funds and pay bills through their mobile phones. Cingular is teaming up with Firethorn Holdings to launch the service. Currently no banks have greenlit the service, but I assume that's why the carrier is waiting a few more months to launch. Firethorn argues that banks have an incentive to offer the service because it creates flexibility for their customers. Much like content providers, my guess is the banks are wary of security on the mobile platform.

Mobile payments are already in the market and include Amp'd's Obopay services and eBay's mobile PayPal service which makes use of SMS. Nokia and MasterCard are pushing the "mobile wallet" and just today Visa announced its mobile payment vision: "secure, over-the-air delivery of payment account information to the mobile device, access to point-of-sale mobile payments using Visa Contactless and Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, as well as remote payments delivered through secure mobile messaging and the mobile Internet."

For more on Cingular's mobile banking service:
- take a look at this article from the WSJ (sub. req.)