Fifth Third’s one of the latest banks to dip its toes in mobile banking game, and like most mobile banking adopters is notifying its customers by alerting them.

The bank, which launched its mobile banking operation about two months ago, has hired VeriSign Messaging and Mobile Media to provide SMS mobile banking alert services to the bank’s 1.3 million online banking customers. The alerts will inform customers of statement availability, payment due notices and thresholds such as when account balances fall under or rise over a certain amount.

The free services are pretty rudimentary and information-based, but it’s a necessary first step in attracting attention to the mobile channel—and a move similar to other financial institutions that have embraced the mobile channel. The thinking is to build familiarity with the channel in anticipation of rolling out more robust functions in the future. According to most research, the audience is there: TowerGroup says the number of mobile banking customers in the U.S. will pass 10 million this year and 50 million within four years.

“These basic functions are critically important. They are simple to use and are safe and secure,” says Charles Landry, vp and general manager, product and innovation, VeriSign. “It builds familiarity and intimacy on both sides of the transaction.”

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