Up until about a year ago, it seemed as though banking was a highly complex matter carried out by skilled experts. But then the economy went down the toilet and it became clear that any idiot could do it -- and in fact they were. Heck, they'll even let teenagers have a crack at it these days. O2 has obviously thought, "Hang on, we could do that," and is entering the financial services market with O2 Money.
O2 is taking care of the technical side while NatWest does the financial bits on two pre-pay Visa cards to be offered to the phone company's customers, called Cash Manager and Load & Go. After every transaction, cardholders will get a free text message displaying the card's balance. You'll also be able to manage the cards online.
Load & Go is aimed at teenagers, with parents informed of the card's use and certain functions blocked, such as online gambling. Both cards are pre-paid, which means you stick money on there in advance at O2 stores, PayPoint and e-pay outlets. It's like the old envelope trick of setting aside certain amounts of cash each week to help you budget. Because there's no credit involved, there's no interest.
If you're interested in using technology to help manage your wonga, take a look at these money-managing ideas. Right, we're off to set up Bank of CNET: we give ourselves credit we can't afford to buy our favourite gadgets and then award ourselves massive bonuses. What could possibly go wrong?