Countrywide Bank is to begin an online banking pilot by the end of this year, using 128-bit encryption.
The bank has had an Internet site since 1995 which offers mortgage and retirement calculators, product and bank information and home and lifestyle articles.
Countrywide chief marketing manager Graham Walmsley says the bank plans to have the pilot running later this year, involving several hundred people.
He says all online transactions between customers and the bank will be fully secure and private, through 128-bit encryp-tion, available for the first time due to the relaxation of US government export restrictions.
“Up until now US law limited the export of software products to 64-bit encryption for financial institutions.”
Walmsley says the bank had been waiting for the latest encryption development.
Walmsley says the technology will be incorporated as a standard feature in mainstream browsers, so customers will not have to download any special software to access their bank accounts.
All the bank’s customers will need to bank online is an Internet connection and a browser.
The service will also have digital certification, an independent confirmation provided to customers to confirm they are communicating with the bank.
Walmsley says the online banking service will include access to a full range of accounts from cheque through to mortgage, account balances, transaction histories, automatic payment maintenance and the ability to transfer between accounts.