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Net access to BofA accounts

Bank of America now lets its credit card customers look at their account information on the Net.

Joining pioneering card companies, Bank of America (BAC) now lets its credit card customers look at their account information on the Net.

Both American Express and Discover already offer similar look-up access to their cardholders, as do other Visa banks, including Columbus Bank & Trust, which has done so for two years.

Bank of America's free service lets customers with Visa or MasterCard accounts check their balances, recent transactions, and available credit. Bank of America's move is consistent with trends in online banking and financial service--making more and more services available on the Net.

Users also can view up to seven months of past activity and download the data into personal finance software. Individuals with several personal Bank of America credit card accounts can look at activity on all cards at once.

While customers gain a new way to look at their accounts, the bank's move is a cost-saving measure too.

"The cost to the bank of providing information via the Internet falls to pennies per transaction vs. dollars per transaction when customer service representatives are involved," analyst firm Zona Research opined in its daily commentary.

But the move also underscores the bank's confidence in current levels of security and privacy on the Net, Zona noted. Usage by consumers will become a measure of how comfortable they are too.

Bank of America already offers other home banking services from its Web site.