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Mobile banking takes tentative steps

In the US, AT&T is to introduce mobile banking services through its Cingular Wireless business, in association with four banks. The deal is thought to be the biggest of its kind in the US.

AT&T customers will be able to use their mobiles for basic banking services such as checking balances and transfers with any of the four banks. They include Wachovia Corp., Regions Financial Corp., SunTrust Banks Inc. and BancorpSouth Inc.

AT&T said there would be no charge to use the banking services. Customers can begin using it now, after downloading software to their handsets although the company does plan to embed the system into phones later this year, it said.

The move will be closely watched by the industry which has long dreamed of turning the mobile phone into an interactive credit card.

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