IBM and Integrion Financial Network, a consortium of 16 of North America?s largest banks, will go head to head with Microsoft and Intuit this week when they unveil a new online banking system.
The group intends to launch a standardised messaging system called the Gold Standard, which will enable customers to communicate electronically with banks and merchants from their own home.
Representing over half the retail banking population in North America, Integrion believes that Gold will become the industry standard for secure electronic financial services and electronic commerce. But it is unlikely to do so without a struggle.
The standard competes directly with two other systems already established in the online banking market, Open Financial Exchange from Microsoft, Intuit and Checkfree, and Visa International?s ADMS bill payment system.
Although all three groups have said they want to work together to develop a single specification for online banking each party is reluctant to relinquish control over development. Microsoft and Intuit, which launched OFX at the beginning of the year, have already made inroads into millions of homes via their rival personal financial software packages.
Nations Bank and Bank One will roll out Integrion-based services from the second quarter of this year. Some analysts believe that conflicting standards are one reason consumers and banks haven?t adopted online banking more aggressively.
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