New York (NY) - Citigroup this week launched what it is calling the first mobile banking application in the US. With the downloadable software, Citibank members will be able to manage their accounts through a proprietary mobile interface.
Initially, the service is only available in the Southern California area, but it will begin to roll out to the rest of the country soon. The application is available from the online services on Sprint, Cingular, and Verizon.
Other banks have specific websites for mobile access, but these are usually still difficult to navigate and it requires users to log onto a mobile web browser. Cingular recently signed a deal with a handful of regional banks to offer optimized mobile banking services, which are still being finalized.
"We just think the downloaded application is going to be so much more immediate and so much faster for the customer," said Jennifer Vos, a representative for the new Citi Mobile service.
In addition to handling main online banking functions like payments and transfers, Citi Mobile lets users connect directly to customer service and locate ATMs in the immediate vicinity.
Though it's the first application of its kind in the US, other parts of the world moved into mobile banking years ago. Japan's wireless access point (WAP)-based service, for example, first debuted near the turn of the millenium.