VANCOUVER, B.C. — Royal Bank of Canada said last week that it would introduce a wireless banking service using Palm handheld computers.

Starting April 1, customers are to be able to do online banking activities, including funds transfers and bill payments, on their Palm devices. The service was developed in partnership with Toronto-based Sona Innovations Inc., in which Royal Bank owns a 20% stake.

Sona’s technology does not use the “middleware” or gateway servers commonly used by other wireless banking services, the company said.

This means Royal Bank does not need to decrypt information at any point. The secure connection is established on the Palm device itself and communicates directly with Royal Bank servers, just as an Internet browser would.

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