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Barclays Brings Free Wi-fi into Branches

Alex Spencer

Barclays is set to become the first major bank in the UK to offer customers free wi-fi access in its high street branches.

The service is being provided by BT on a white label basis, and follows an initial trial in three branches six months ago. The wi-fi has been rolled out to more than half of the projected 1,5000 branches, with the rest set to go live by March.

In-store wi-fi is increasingly common on the high street, more typically with retailers - though, according to BT’s own ‘Youbiquity’ research, 41 per cent of banking customers survey felt that wi-fi would 'greatly improve' their in-branch experience.

But what is perhaps most interesting about this roll-out is the reasoning behing it. For retailers, wi-fi provides any opportunity to provide more information about products, show how they compare to the competiton, or perhaps engage bored boyfriends, but Barclays has a rather different aim in mind - to drive usage of its range of mobile banking services.

“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,” said Ashok Vaswani, Barclays retail and business banking CEO. 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 will be on hand to show them how.”