‘Text banking now available at Lloyds’

July 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

First it was telephone banking, then came internet banking. But the next big thing to hit the consumer banking market could now be text banking. Lloyds TSB has just released a new service that allows its customers to use their mobile phones to get details about their bank accounts, and if it is successful then other banks will surely be offering the same service in the near future.

It has been called the ‘Balance on Demand’ service because customers are expected to use it to get details of their bank balance. They simply have to text ‘BAL’ followed by the last four digits of their bank accounts into their phones and send it to the number provided, and then Lloyds will send them back their bank balance instantly, as well as details of their some of their recent transactions.

There will also be other features available on the service. Customers will be able to transfer money between accounts and receive warning messages when their balance goes below a certain amount, although these have to be set up separately with some involving downloading applications to the phones.

The catch? It’s not free. As well as the normal text charges that users will be charged by their mobile companies, the majority of Lloyds customers will have to pay £2.50 for the service. The only customers who will not have to pay the charge will be packaged-account holders, or those who have accounts that also provide extra services.

This has led the service to be criticised by some who feel that the banks are charging money unnecessarily for a service that users can get free through the internet, and that it is geared more towards helping the bank’s profits than providing a necessary service to customers.

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