In April 2007, First Direct realised the hard way that not supporting Mac users wasn’t a wise move. When an update to its security blocked all Mac users using Safari, Mac users denounced the internet company.
Credit where it’s due though, First Direct quickly re-worked its system and announced Safari support in January this year. It even goes as far as to proudly proclaim its Mac credentials on the corporate home page.
But First Direct didn’t just stop there. The bank famous for internet banking went one step further and introduced online banking via the iPhone.
I’m aware that this may be de rigour in the United States (where Bank Of America has been offering this service for a while) but let me tell you it’s very much a novelty here in the UK. Personally, I bank with Lloyds TSB and does it offer an iPhone optimised web site? Does it heck, LloydsTSB is too busy offering free iPods to students. In the six months I've had an iPhone, LLoyds still hasn't managed to fix a problem with its browser detection that rejects the iPhone out of hand.
From the sounds of it no other online banking system will work with the iPhone at the moment either, although we have had unconfirmed reports that Abbey National works (although it states "unsupported browser" on the web page). And I'm not sure I'd roll along with an "unsupported browser" message - online banking is the one thing that I'm really paranoid about.
All this is a shame, because being able to access your bank details via the iPhone would be a fantastic feature. It seems, for now at least, that only First Direct customers will get the benefit.
It also leaves us in a bit of a quandary. After all, how do you go about testing a bank account?