Barclays launches national telephone banking service

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The Independent Online
BARCLAYS Bank plans to sell investment products such as life assurance and personal pensions over the telephone as part of a move, announced this week, to offer telephone banking to its 6 million customers, writes Caroline Merrell.

Barclays is the last high street bank to offer telephone banking. Barclaycall will allow customers to carry out most every day banking transactions by phone, including checking balances, ordering chequebooks and statements and paying bills, for the price of a local phone call.

Unlike First Direct, Midland Bank's telephone banking operation, it will be run as an integrated part of Barclays' service to it customers.

Steve Richardson, managing director of Barclaycall, said: 'Anyone who wants to arrange a loan will be passed on to a specialist.'

He said he envisaged that it would eventually be possible to sell customers some investment products. 'We are very conscious that people selling these products will have to be properly qualified,' he said.

Barclays was recently rebuked by the Securities and Investments Board, the chief regulator, over the way it sold insurance and pensions.

Barclaycall will operate for 365 days a year, from 7am to 11pm weekdays and between 9am and 5pm at the weekends. It said its research found that customers did not need a 24-hour service.

Barclaycall is aiming to take on about 20,000 customers a month.

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