HSBC is the latest finance company to jump on the online banking bandwagon with the announcement that it will launch global internet services.
Hot on the heels of other financial organisations such as Abbey National and Lloyds TSB, HSBC today unveiled its plans to offer internet-related services to customers worldwide.
However, instead of launching a standalone internet bank like many other financial organisations, HSBC said it will offer its services through a range of media including the internet, digital TV and Wap phones.
HSBC chairman Sir John Bond said the company had recognised the growing importance of the internet as one of a number of new media that will become an integral part of the bank's services. He said HSBC would be one of the first banks to provide internet services on a "multi-product, multi-geography basis".
Last September, HSBC launched its UK home banking service for customers with digital television. So far, 55,000 users have registered for the service, which can be accessed through Open, the TV home shopping channel run by BSkyB.
Bond said HSBC will develop hsbc.com as a brand name and portal for consumer services over the next year and will launch internet-related services in the UK, US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Turkey, Greece and Jersey. HSBC has already launched an online trading service in Canada and Australia.
Internet banking in Europe is expected to soar over the few years. Researcher Datamonitor predicts that there will be more than 21 million European internet banking customers by 2004, with the majority based in Sweden and the UK. In 1999 there were 4.5 million online banking customers in Europe.
Banks will increase their investment in marketing and will offer value-added services to attract more users online, said Datamonitor. Access devices such as internet TV and Wap-enabled mobile phones will ensure services are available to a mass market.
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