Barclays, which already has one million customers online, is to hugely increase its spending on e-commerce in the coming year, budgeting £325m compared with £180m last year.
Online banking is most popular among 25-34 year-olds, who account for nearly two out of five customers.
Despite the fact that the young are the biggest net users, 18-24 year olds make up only eight per cent of Barclays online bankers – roughly the same proportion as 55-64 year olds. The over 65s are the smallest age group online, but there are still an impressive 38,000 of them. One 99-year-old even signed up last month.
Later in the year, the company plans to introduce personal online banking products. It will also set up a real-time dealing service through Barclay’s Stockbrokers, which already handles more than 2,000 online deals a day from personal customers.
Barclay cardholders pay off more than £1 million of their bills over the internet every day. The company guarantees that customers will never be liable for unauthorized transactions over the net, and this has built up confidence for shopping online.
Later this month their offshore branch will launch a multi-currency service for expatriates and foreign nationals, to manage money in different currencies and time zones, with 24-hour access via the net.
Several UK banks have recently expanded their presence in e-commerce – Halifax plans a launch later this summer, and has signed a deal with BT, offering mobile phones with free internet access to the first 150,000 customers. Abbey National’s electronic banking service, Cahoot, claims 50,000 customers.
Small business online banking is growing at a rate of more than 7,000 per month, and internet banking is offered free to start-up businesses for the first 12 months.
In March 2000 Barclays announced a strategic partnership with Freeserve to create a small business portal offering information and services to UK small businesses to simplify the way they do business. In the autumn of this year, the company will extend internet banking to larger businesses using smart technology to provide the higher level of security. The bank’s electronic banking service for larger businesses was rated number one in the UK for electronic banking by Internet Business Magazine in April 2000.
Barclays Global Investors is the world’s largest institutional investment manager with more than $780 billion in assets under management. BGI serves 1,500 clients around the world, primarily corporate, governmental and multiple-employer pension funds, university endowments and charitable foundations.