UK building society Bristol & West is set to pull the plug on its online banking service due to poor customer uptake.
The Bank of Ireland subsidiary has posted a notice on its site advising customers that the service will be discontinued at the end of next month.
The link for new customer applications has already been severed, while existing customers are advised that from 28 November 2003 they will no longer be able to view or download account information or transact on accounts via the Internet. The building society is instead directing customers to a freefone number for information about its range of phone and post-based direct savings account.
A Bristol & West spokesman says the site, which was launched in April 2001, was used by fewer than one per cent of customers.
The failure to convert more customers to the online channel is an abject lesson for other banking Web sites. Bristol & West had offered only a limited service enabling customers to manage a single online savings account. The lack of customer interest has been attributed to the firm's failure to grow the site into a full-service transactional channel offering a range of more sophisticated services.