Barclays to open consumer finance portal

Barclays to open consumer finance portal

Barclaycard has agreed a joint venture with Toronto-based Bayshore Capital to launch iMoney, a consumer finance comparison and online shopping portal.

iMoney says it will offer access to the widest range of financial products, services and suppliers available in the UK over the Internet. It seeks to attract 200,000 registered users by the end of 2001.

The new service, which will be launched this summer, is a joint venture with Bayshore Capital, an investment holding corporation which pioneered the development of online financial services in Canada in 1995. Bayshore will take a minority 13% stake, in return for the provision of technical resources and online financial services expertise. Barclaycard will own 87 per cent of the venture.

The plans for iMoney have been firmed up just as UK software house Misys released further details of a similar consumer service, theformula. Set for launch later this year, it has been built on the foundations of the company's Internet insurance service, Screentrade, and will enable consumers to buy a basket of financial products from a wide range of providers, using "compare, inform and buy" technologies.

While Misys believes consumers want impartial advice, James Davison, iMoney chief executive, believes the Barclays' brand backing will help his portal win new customers. "iMoney will be different from its competitors because it will be the first such service to be backed by a major financial brand like Barclaycard. The trust this will create will give consumers the confidence to use our new service."

At launch, consumers will be able to compare mortgages, unit trusts, car, home and travel insurance, personal loans, savings and current accounts and stocks and shares. Of these, they will initially be able to buy mortgages, unit trusts and car, home and travel insurance online. Future products available for purchase through iMoney will include savings, loans, ISAs, life assurance, pensions and stocks and shares.

The iMoney announcement follows Barclaycard’s recent launch of indigosquare.com, which aims to become the largest online shopping centre in the UK by the end of 2001.

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