Deadheat as Halifax and Nationwide declare one million online customers

Deadheat as Halifax and Nationwide declare one million online customers

Taking their rivalries online, high street bank Halifax, and building society Nationwide, each claim to have hit the one million Internet customer mark on exactly the same day.

Halifax, part of the HBOS financial group, says it has clocked up one million UK customers for its Internet banking service, since its launch in October 1999. Not to be outdone, Nationwide has responded with news that it too has notched up 500,000 online banking registrations since December 2000, bringing its total number of Internet banking customers to one million.

Nationwide first moved to deliver customer banking over the Internet in May 1997, and has since extended the choice of access channels to include personal digital assistants, WAP mobile phones and Internet TV.

Jim Willens, Nationwide's e-commerce director, says: "This milestone recognises the good sense behind providing a fully integrated service. We offer our members a choice of access channels - both electronic and traditional - and, clearly, that is what they want."

HBOS, which offers free Internet access via its branch network, is also offering Digital TV brochureware and call back services via Sky and NTL, and in March began offering mobile banking to users with WAP phones.

Paul Waggott, head of e-commerce, Halifax says: "At the launch of Halifax Online we expected an average of 10,000 new users per month, we are now seeing users register at a rate of 80,000 per month."

Barclays Bank is the UK's leading online bank, passing the two million user mark in April this year.

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