Banking arrives on Pebble smartwatch

Pebble smartwatch owners can now enjoy banking on the devices with an app released that allows personal financial management and it coincides with the 30th anniversary of the online bank.

The Interact Smartwatch App, released by British financial services software company Intelligent Environments [IE], allows owners to view their live bank balance, recent transactions and vibrates when close to the overdraft limit.

“We develop our software by first finding out what customers really want in a digital bank. Our research shows that people like to know their account balance in real time. Plus customers are increasingly curious about how wearable devices, such as smartwatches, can be used to manage everyday tasks such as banking,” said Clayton Locke, CTO at IE.

It can be installed on any Pebble device and is “inspired by” the UK’s first online bank service Homelink, which was first launched by Bank of Scotland in November 1983 for customers of the Nottingham Building Society.

The original app was based on the UK’s Prestel Viewlink system and customers used a computer terminal connected to the telephone and television in order to view statements, make bank transfers and bill payments using the service.

“The system was massively ahead of its time. I organised a mortgage through the system and it even pioneered an email-style messaging system with technology called “viewlets”. These were essentially short messages which pre-dated the widespread use of emails by 15 years,” said John Sinclair, an early Homelink user and a founder of The National Museum of Computing.

The company is also developing apps for other pieces of wearable technology with Google Glass set to be one of the next pieces of technology to benefit and IE is in discussions with a number of banks looking to offer the technology to customers in the near future.

Research carried out by IE shows that more than 35 million UK residents have one digital bank account and that 81 per cent of them use online banking to access personal financial information instantly.