The British wireless carrier, 02, a unit of the multinational telecom Telefonica S.A., is moving into financial services.

On Wednesday the company announced the launch of O2 Money in conjunction with the NatWest unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. It said 02 Money would "advance the increasing synergies between mobile and money."

The companies said they are offering two types of fee-free prepaid Visa card accounts that deliver real-time balance updates to O2 customers' mobile phones after each transaction so people will never overdraw the accounts.

The Cash Manager card allows users to "ring-fence their disposable income," protecting funds that need to be reserved for payments such as rent, mortgage and bills, 02 said.

02 said the Load & Go card is designed for younger customers, age 13 and up. A parent can fund the cards' accounts over the Internet or at walk-up sites, and cardholder can use the cards online or at the point of sale, but not in certain retail outlets and gambling and other Web sites.

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