Monilink arrives for HSBC and First Direct users

Whilst surfing to the First Direct Web site last week - to find out more about First Direct's current account charging plans - I noticed the bank now has the Monilink logo on its sites.

As I've mentioned before, Monilink is a mobile ATM service that will eventually allow debit card users to do everything they do at a Link-branded ATM - except draw cash, of course - using their mobile.

The good news is the service is now live on a trial basis for all First Direct and HSBC personal account holders. The slightly bad news is that, despite what they told me earlier in the year, the basic balance check service isn't free. It costs 20p a pop.

A mini-statement of your last five transactions costs 25p. Other services are in the pipeline.

Security on the service is red-hot, and you have to wait for a confirmatory letter in the snail mail to get the service rolling.

Except, even with the letter's password, I can't get the service to work on my trusty Motorola V3 or Nokia 9300 handsets across T-Mobile's GPRS service.

It seems that the SSL technology doesn't like T-Mobile's VPN. I spent an hour over the weekend trying to get it to work, before giving up...