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AOL opens house of banks

AOL establishes an online banking center with the help of financial service vendors for its members.

America Online wants to be your bank.

The online services provider today established the AOL Banking Center, and announced deals with CheckFree, Intuit, Online Resources, and Visa Interactive to provide online banking services.

The four companies will each offer secure online transactions to financial institutions, which will in turn seek to offer banking services to approximately 6.2 million AOL members.

Intuit is offering banking services beginning today from 14 financial institutions, including American Express and Sanwa Bank. An additional eight banks, including Mellon Bank, Bank Atlantic, and Bank of Boston will begin offering services this fall. All of the banks will use Intuit's BankNow software, which can be downloaded for free from AOL. BankNow uses 128-key data encryption for secure transactions.

AOL (AMER) will offer U.S. users a 128-bit encrypted browser for access to services from the other providers.

CheckFree will offer users electronic bill payment processing options, while Online Resources will handle transaction processing, according to AOL.