The first fully interactive financial service on British digital TV goes live today. The Abbey National initiative launches via interactive shopping and services channel Open, of which BSkyB recently gained control [WAMN, 17-Jul-00].

Banking services include money transfers between accounts, the payment of bills and balance checks. The facility will shortly be extended to other digital platforms including OnDigital, NTL, Telewest and Cable & Wireless, while e-banking via WAP-enabled mobile phones will be launched by the end of the year.

Abbey – Britain's sixth largest bank – predicts that its iTV and internet services will be accessible to four million homes by the end of 2000, rising to 9m by 2003.

According to market analysis specialist Datamonitor, one in five UK households (or 26 million people) will be using interactive television by 2003.

News source: BBC Online (UK)