Macintosh users have the rough end of the stick when it comes to Internet banking. They have to watch hours of TV advertising for the latest Net bank offering higher interest rates for savers and bargain mortgages for home-buyers, only to be told its Windows-only when they try to log on.

While the Co-op’s Smile Internet bank just makes Mac users frown, customers of the First Direct bank, will soon be able to join Citibank, Egg and Barclays customers in the world of PC banking.

Problem solving First Direct customers who tried unsuccessfully to make use of the Net division have received some good news from the bank, which is a subsidiary of the HSBC giant.

Kath McWeeney, customer services manager of First Direct, has written to Mac-based customers to say that the bank is "now very close" to solving the "problem" that made the service Windows only.

McWeeney explained the problem: "There is currently still a need to store familiar files on a PC’s hard drive to access the service. The mechanism used to allow these files to interact with our server is not yet available via an Apple Mac."

However, McWeeney promises to be contacting Mac customers by the end of August to invite them to take advantage of (and finally get friendly with its 'Little fella" mascot, shown here).