In a bid to cut online fraud levels, high street bank Barclays is providing free virus protection software to customers and is also launching a text messaging service that alerts account holders to new Web transactions.
Barclays will offer its online customers a two-year licence of anti-virus software from Finland-based F-Secure free of charge. The bank had previously agreed to provide the anti-virus and spyware technology at a discounted price, but is now providing the software for free.
The F-Secure package prevents viruses and worms being downloaded to a computer, scans e-mails, protects users against spyware and comes with free 24/7 technical support.
Barclays customers using the F-Secure anti-virus software will also have the option to upgrade to the vendor's flagship Internet security product for a reduced price.
Richard Hales, Country Manager, F-Secure UK, says: "This free software offer will provide Barclays customers with the confidence that they are protected against online fraud, not only for their banking with Barclays but for all of their Internet activity."
In addition Barclays says it is introducing a new SMS alert service and will send text messages to notify customers of new payees on their online account. A text message will be sent to customers when an online payment is made to a new payee for the first time, enabling customers to alert the bank immediately if the transaction is suspicious.
Commenting on the bank's new online anti-fraud initiative, Barnaby Davis, director, electronic banking, Barclays, says: "Our new anti-virus and SMS text initiatives will go a long way towards offering customers additional protection and peace of mind."