Link to your credit card by wireless

If you carry an Aria Visa credit card, as well as the right kind of cell phone or personal digital assistant, you can now access your account information from anywhere.

Providian Financial Corp. announced Wednesday a pilot program for Aria Visa cardholders that let’s them access their accounts in real time. Dubbed AriaAnywhere, the free service works with Wireless Application Protocol-enabled phones, Internet-ready phones, and Web-connected Palm handhelds, says Lorijon Bacchi, vice president of emerging technologies.

After registering, you simply point your phone or PDA’s browser toward a specific Aria URL. From that site you can access your balance, the payment due date, your remaining credit, and other information, Bacchi says. The process is secure, so the information is always safe, she says.

First Step in Wireless Services

Aria Visa cardholders originally applied for their accounts online and can already access their account information via the Internet, says Jody Bhagat, senior vice president of e-commerce at Providian. That’s why the company decided to try the wireless program first with those approximately 300,000 Aria Visa cardholders.

“We want to stay at the forefront of technology for our consumers,” Bhagat says. “We want to find out what they want so we can deliver.”

Monitoring how Aria users utilize the wireless service will give the company insight into what types of services might appeal to its other 15 million customers, Bhagat says. Future wireless services might include electronic-wallet features, online bill payment, and shopping, he notes.

Aria cardholders and prospective customers can find out more about the service at the company’s Web site. The service is already up and running, Bhagat says.