Barclays is launching a multi-channel banking service for small business customers, featuring an extended hours telephone-based relationship service complemented by Internet and postal banking in addition to branch access, plus a sliding scale of charges in favour of remote users.
Barclays Business Direct users will be able to take advantage of a combination of traditional and new world banking services and reduce their banking charges by an average of 20% says the bank. Barclays is also tempting first-time customers with an offer of free banking until the start of 2003.
Under the service, a team of business banking managers will be available on the telephone from 7am – 11pm weekdays and 9am – 5pm at weekends providing guidance, support and quick lending decisions. The telephone relationship service will be supplemented by a 24-hour automated service both on the telephone and over the Internet for basic banking transactions, such as transferring funds, paying bills and amending standing orders and direct debits.
Barclays managing director of small business banking, Mike Rogers claims this is the first time that small business customers have been able to combine the modern convenience and low cost of Internet and telephone banking with the traditional strengths of a relationship service and access to branch counter services.
"As Barclays Business Direct offers relationship services over the telephone and Internet, we are able to share cost savings with the customer and provide the service more cheaply," he says.
Customers who make the most use of remote channels will make the greatest savings. Making a payment over the telephone will cost £0.4, whilst making the same payment over the Internet will cost £0.3 and by direct debit just £0.25.
The service has been offered on a limited basis since Autumn 2000 with over 2000 customers already signed up. It is now being rolled out nationwide.