Hang on to your passbooks-banking is going wireless. From California to New York, several banks nationwide are testing or have implemented programs enabling entrepreneurs to access their accounts via mobile phones and personal digital assistants. "This is a core part of the services banks offer in Europe and Asia, but large banks in the United States are just beginning to build this service out," says Alistair Rennie of Toronto-based 724 Solutions, one of the primary companies helping U.S. banks roll out the new technology.
"The next phase of real growth and exciting developments [in banking] is wireless," affirms Michael Szwajkowski of Purchase, New York-based Claritybank.com. This newly established Internet bank has incorporated wireless banking as a core feature since its inception.
In addition to simply offering access to accounts, wireless banking allows entrepreneurs to pay bills online and wire money, making the service especially suited to time-pressed customers. "These customers have a high desire for convenience and want online banking wherever they are," says Charles Piermarini of Chicago-based Harris Bank, which is also testing a mobile-phone program.