Australia's major banks are rushing to develop applications for the Apple iPad tablet on the back of significant growth in mobile banking use.
St.George Bank has become the first of the major banks to announce a dedicated app, which is to be made available for free download from the Apple iTunes store next week.
The iPad is being launched to Australians tomorrow.
The app will go beyond the stripped back service made available by most banks for the iPhone, offering users the full functionality of St.George Internet banking, as well as a branch and ATM locator, product and service information, interest rates and product selector tools, and access to St.George video content through the bank's YouTube channel.
St.George head of eDistribution, Travis Tyler said more than 110,000 St.George customers use the bank's mobile banking service.
Tyler told iTnews he thinks the iPad is more likely to be used by customers at home.
"We wanted to make sure we provided the full functionality of Internet banking".
Tyler also revealed the bank has a dedicated "think tank" of in-house experts working on new functionality for both the iPhone and iPad as customers embrace what Tyler said is a far more feature-rich experience than that offered by traditional websites.
NAB has also developed a dedicated iPad app, which it will launch tomorrow. The app will include full service NAB Internet banking, an ATM and branch locator and currency exchange rates. The bank said it will expand functionality over coming months.
Sam Plowman, executive general manager for direct banking at NAB said that as customers continue to embrace new technologies, "internet banking should be available anywhere, anytime, on any device".
Ean van Vuuren, head of consumer online with Westpac said the bank is definitely looking at building for iPad as mobile banking continues to gain popularity, but it has no firm launch dates at this stage.
ANZ and CBA (Commonwealth Bank), meanwhile, are first looking to simply optimise its existing online site for viewing on an iPad.
"We believe that the iPad and devices like it will become very popular for accessing online services in the home," an ANZ spokesman said.
She said the bank has already made changes to its platform to ensure that its internet banking service works well on the iPad.
"We are also working on other concepts related to the iPad and our approach is to deliver a customer experience that fully utilises what Apple have created in terms of screen size, multi-touch and other capabilities."
A CBA spokesman described the iPad as "an exciting device."
"We have tested NetBank on the iPad and think its a good experience, so we won't be developing a specific iPad application," the spokesman said.
Spanish financial institution Banco Sabadell became the first bank to release a native iPad app in late April.
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