Barclays is all set to offer video banking services—the first of its kind in the UK

LONDON – Being a British multinational banking and financial services company, Barclays plans to provide its customers with the new innovation of introducing video banking services.

As predicted to be available from December 8, it will allow the premier account customers to interact with advisers at any time of the day from any location using their smartphones, tablets,computers, etc. The Skype-style service will merely be available to premier banking customers who earn £75,000 or more a year, and later it will be extended to other customers.

The reason for the launch of this new service is to reduce the reliance on branch networks of banks by enhancing digital technologies so that more and more customers are banking via mobile devices.

According to the Chief Executive of Personal Banking, Stephen Cooper, it would be a watershed moment in UK banking and that would allow customers to interact completely on their terms, rather than the banks.

He further added that many Barclays customers are using the digital channels to carry out their routine transactions, but for important banking uses, face-to-face conversation becomes essential. However, traditional branch opening hours do not always facilitate the customers with much choice.

Although the transition towards digital technology is not astonishing in today’s era, others are concerned that this advancement might lead to further branch closures. In the first nine months of 2014, Barclays closed 54 of its branches.

In April, Nationwide Building Society launched a similar service in more than 60 of its branches that allows the customers to talk to mortgage advisers via a video link at a time that suits them. However, this service was a comparatively limited video service.

Barclays believes its new approach to banking would empower customers to do their banking whenever and where ever they want. This video banking service would also be extended to mortgages, businesses and wealthy customers from early 2015, and will later be extended to all personal banking users.

Shreeya Bhattarai, Correspondent (Business)

Image Courtesy: Dick Thomas Johnson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/31029865@N06/8046869083), Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Flickr