BROKAT, one of the world's leading providers of software for e-banking and e-business solutions, announced today it has extended its license agreement with Cleveland-based Charter One Financial to include wireless banking. The $32 billion bank holding company, one of the top 30 in the U.S., recently selected BROKAT's award-winning platform Twister(TM), to provide state-of-the-art web-based banking to consumers and small business. The introduction of BROKAT's wireless technology provides Charter One with a delivery channel not previously available to their customers. Wireless adds a fourth dimension to Charter One's "brick, click or dial" strategy, giving customers simple, user-friendly access to a full range of banking products and services.
Charter One is adding BROKAT's wireless banking capabilities to complement the web banking application suites for consumer and small business. These capabilities will include account summary, account transfer, view recent transactions and a speed-dial feature for customer support. Charter One customers will have browser and wireless access to checking, savings, money market, mortgage, and loan accounts through BROKAT's e-banking application. Twister's flexibility and integration capabilities make it an excellent platform for supporting non-traditional and emerging technology such as wireless and other hand-held devices. Charter One expects the new functionality to broaden their customer base with those who prefer to bank "on the go."
"We know that not everyone will embrace the Internet as a delivery platform," said Charles (Bud) Koch, Charter One Chief Executive Officer. "There is a substantial market out there demanding high quality, real-time access not restricted to a desktop. Being an early player in the web-enabled, wireless game emphasizes Charter One's commitment to our customers and to BROKAT as a long-term partner. With BROKAT's Twister platform we now have the horsepower needed to realize our vision -- to offer our customers a unique, superior banking experience available from any touch point."
Celent Communications -- a Boston-based consulting and research firm dedicated to e-commerce in the financial services -- predicts that more banks will venture online in 2000 and 2001, offering a broader range of transactions and financial products over the Internet and a larger number of electronic delivery channels. "While the Internet is expected to remain the dominant electronic channel in North America, the number of wireless users is expected to increase," said Octavio Marenzi of Celent Communications. The number of digital phones in the North America will be around 96 million by the end of 2000, expected to reach 130 million in 2002 and 156 million by 2005.
Marenzi continues, "As market penetration and user sophistication increases, so will the expectations of the users of these devices. This means a flexible, adaptable platform like Twister is needed to support the wide variety of devices and delivery mechanisms which are on the horizon here in the States. BROKAT is experienced with a variety of mobile technologies, including WAP and GSM and is utilizing their platform to conduct services such as wireless brokerage and payments with mobile digital signatures for authentication."
The scope of Charter One's initial offering is just the beginning. The bank plans to continually roll out new features to diversify its portfolio of wireless transactions, including a bill payment function in phase two. Future possibilities encompass customer service through automated real-time mobile phone alerts for events such as overdrafts. Specifics of later phases have not been laid out in detail, but both the bank and BROKAT are keeping a close watch on developments in the wireless industry so that latest trends can be successfully realized as quickly as possible.
"As a leading global provider of software for e-finance solutions, we have a commitment to keep banks and financial clients ahead of the technology curve," said Rick Wilson, General Manager, BROKAT Americas. Combined with BROKAT's success rate in the European market, which leads the world in wireless technology, banks like Charter One can expect to build and maintain a reputation known for delivering cutting-edge products. Wilson continues, "Today, existing technology in Europe allows a mobile phone user to point his phone at a vending machine and make a purchase. Why shouldn't banking be that simple? As new technologies appear we want to lead the industry and help our clients be the first to take the next step."
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