New bank to issue cards in 15 minutes

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The Independent Online

New high street bank Metro Bank announced today it had joined forces with MasterCard to provide new customers with payment cards within 15 minutes of them opening an account.

The group, which will be the first high street bank to launch in the UK for more than a century when it opens its doors on Thursday, has signed a five-year deal with MasterCard, under which it will supply all of the banks credit and debit cards.

As part of the partnership, MasterCard has invested in new technology, enabling Metro Bank to offer the 'while you wait' card service, while still carrying out the same level of security checks.

MasterCard will supply Metro Bank customers with its new Debit MasterCard, which can be used at more than 30 million outlets and 1.5 million cash machines around the world.

Metro Bank has promised to offer customers a better banking experience by following retail opening hours, rather than banking ones.

As a result, its branches will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, as well as from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

It has been co-founded by US billionaire Vernon Hill and Anthony Thomson, who is chairman of the Financial Services Forum, and is based on the model used for Commerce Bank in the US, which was founded by Mr Hill in 1973.

The group will open its first branch, which it calls a store, in Holborn in London on Thursday next week, with a second branch in Earls Court due to open later this year.

It plans to open a further 12 branches in Greater London during the coming two years, expanding its network to more than 200 outlets within the M25 during the next decade.

The branches will have toilets in them and, in what is thought to be a nod to its dog-owning financial backer Mr Hill, will allow dogs and provide them with a bowl of water and a bone.

Craig Donaldson, chief executive of Metro Bank, said: "We believe, and know, that UK consumers are looking for a different and better banking experience.

"Working with MasterCard has enabled us to offer a great range of innovative payment services that will allow us to best serve the banking needs of the consumer and business communities."

Hany Fam, general manager of MasterCard UK & Ireland, said: "We share a common vision with Metro Bank in putting the consumer at the heart of the payment proposition.

"We're delighted to be working together to bring a breath of fresh air to high street banking in the UK."

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