Feeds

Orange becomes more like bank: launches overdraft facility

Pay £1 to get £2.50 into debt

Seven Steps to Software Security

Mobile phone customers signing up to Orange's new Speakeasy pre-pay tariff can get themselves £2.50 worth of overdraft facility to keep them connected when their credit runs out, though they'll have to pay £1 to sign up for it.

The overdraft facility, branded "Reserve Tank", is part of the new tariff which also includes three "Magic Numbers" that are only charged at 15p an hour, and a flat 15p a minute rate for calling anyone else.

Pre-pay systems already put the mobile phone operators in danger of becoming banks. It's OK in principle for a company to take pre-payment for one product - phone calls or books, for example. But mobile phone credit is used for all sorts of things including buying ringtones and games, downloading music, and entering dodgy TV quizzes.

This makes the mobile phone companies look suspiciously like banks - they store your money for you and allow convenient access to buy things. The only thing they don't do is pay interest.

If the mobile networks became banks they'd have to sign up to the banking code of practice and open their accounts to a lot more scrutiny. The UK's financial services regulator has been very cautious about imposing more regulation on such a dynamic industry. But if companies are offering overdrafts, this will draw attention to the fact that they are operating as banks in all but name.

Perhaps if they were banks they could start paying interest. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.