Firethorn offers both AT&T/Cingular and Verizon customers the ability to view account balances and history, transfer funds, receive and pay bills, and quickly clear contents if their mobile device is ever lost or stolen. Consumers can do all this on any supported wireless handset, even when their device is offline. That's all very cool.
There is one small snag, and that's the trust factor. The general consumer is growing weary enough of the seemingly endless news headlines about credit card and identity theft. Even with all the safeguards that Firethorn has put in place, attaching bank accounts to mobile phones invites skepticism galore from those who don't like to trust their personal information with anyone, let alone anyTHING.
Firethorn attempts to reassure us by implementing all sorts of security, including PIN authorization and lockout; FFIEC compliance; deactivation in event of theft or loss; encryption of locally stored data; secure registration of mobile phones; and a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection requirement.
Does all this security actually make the device and your banking information secure from theft or loss? Yes. Will people believe in it enough to sign up? Hard to say.
With the Verizon and AT&T/Cingular trials set to launch later this year, it will be interesting to watch how quickly the services are adopted.