The Financial Services Agency on Friday granted a preliminary banking license to eBank Corp., making it the nation’s third Internet-based bank, the agency said.

The new Internet-only bank is expected to open for business in July after gaining a formal license, bank officials said.

The bank, estimating total transactions to reach 500 billion yen, aims for 1.5 million individual accounts within three years, rising to 3 million accounts by 2006, they said.

Japan Net Bank, set up in October, was the nation’s first Internet-based bank, followed by Sony Bank, launched earlier this week.

eBank, which will focus on the settlement of payments for small online purchases of goods and services, plans to begin service for mobile phone users this fall.

The bank, currently capitalized at 4.4 billion yen, plans to boost its capital to 8 billion yen by the end of June, the bank officials said.

About 40 companies, including Itochu Corp., Japan Telecom Co. and Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co., are investors in eBank.

Makoto Tanji, former Bank of Japan executive director, is eBank’s chairman and Toyoo Gyohten, former vice finance minister for international affairs, is an adviser.

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