Something extra from your cash dispenser

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The Independent Online
Does your cash dispenser give you extra money absolutely free? If it's a NatWest branch hole in the wall, it probably does. From Monday money-off vouchers will accompany cash withdrawals at a thousand sites up and down the country.

First to emerge through the slot will be discount offers of up to pounds 50 on Seafrance cross-Channel ferries, and a promotion around the launch of the Walt Disney video Pocahontas. Others to follow include vouchers for large stores, manufacturers and assorted high profile brands.

This type of voucher system has been very successful in tests, with brands such as Sainsbury's, Coca Cola and Mars achieving redemption rates as high as 11 per cent. Comparable leaflet drops, by contrast, achieve only a 1-2 per cent response rate.

It's all about added value, says NatWest's marketing department - giving customers extra service from their cash till.

It's also about making money for the bank - lots of it. They won't disclose how much - commercially sensitive information this.

Advertisers will be tempted by the opportunity to target specific areas or neighbourhoods, and in the long term, individuals who withdraw large amounts of cash. The bank says this would not invade customer privacy.

On the back of the vouchers there will be information about offers from the bank's own portfolio of financial services. Like its main rivals - Lloyds TSB, Midland and Barclays - NatWest is looking to maximise value from customers by cross-selling them products and services. The cash dispenser vouchers are just one of several ways.

Each bank would like to become a one-stop shop for all their customers' financial needs. Someone with a simple loss-making current account could be sold a whole range of products - a mortgage, pension, life assurance, home and travel insurance, PEPs and Tessas.

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