Thought leadership

Barclays will become the first major UK high street bank to offer free Wi-fi access for its customers in branches nationwide. The new Wi-fi service is the latest move by Barclays to make banking easier for its customers – by providing more opportunities for them to access the internet.

The Wi-fi hotspots will be rolled-out across 1,500 of Barclays branches across the United Kingdom, allowing them to offer a richer, more seamless experience for customers across digital and in-store channels.

Barclays customers will be able to use any wireless-enabled PC, tablet or smartphone to connect to the internet, download its mobile banking apps including Pingit, access and other internet sites often faster than if they were using 3G. Earlier this year, BT’s ‘Youbiquity’ financial sector research 1 revealed that free in-store Wi-fi access was high on the most-wanted list for consumers in the UK, Germany, Spain and USA. Indeed some 41 per cent of the banking customers who took part in the survey felt that free Wi-fi would greatly improve their in-branch experience.

Ashok Vaswani, CEO, Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said: “We’ve been listening to our customers about how we can make banking easier for them, and they tell us they like the idea of mobile banking but would often value being shown how it works. We are always keen to show our customers how easy our mobile apps are to use, so we are now rolling out free Wi-fi across our Barclays branches, and our front line staff say this will help them give product demos using our customers own mobiles and tablets. We hope by providing this free service our customers will be able to instantly download and use all our mobile apps, and we are on hand to show them how.”

Luis Alvarez, CEO, BT Global Services said: “Whether it’s in the branch or through remote channels such as mobile banking, the technology now exists for organisations to connect their customers to the right people and the right information in a seamless, cost-effective way. It’s no secret that banks are facing some of the toughest challenges of any sector, so it’s great to see forward thinking companies like Barclays prioritising their investments, so they can deliver great service for their customers as well as the bottom line. BT is delighted to be helping them provide the state-of-the-art, multi-channel service experience that their customers demand.”

The project has already begun following initial trials by BT in three Barclays branches. BT has successfully rolled out the technology to more than half of the 1,500 branches, with these now being available for customer use. The remaining branches will go live with the service during February and March 2013.

The technology will be provided and managed by BT as a ’white label’ service. This means it will be visible to the public in branches as ‘BarclaysFreeWifi’. In order to initially connect to the service, customers only have to click to accept the T&C’s.


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