Barclays joins 21st century with new online banking tools

Business banking news review: week ending 11 Dec 2014

Welcome to the 21st century, Barclays customers: your bank now accepts cheque deposits via smartphone cameras. Just like most other non-Stone Age banks.

Right, so here’s one that will make you scratch your head. Now around one million Barclays customers will be able to use their smart phones to really do some online banking in the form of taking photos of a cheque in order to deposit it into their savings accounts or current accounts. The service has been so successful in its initial pilot programme of just a few thousand banking customers that it’s decided to roll out the service more widely.

Right now, the ‘new’ technology is only available to iPhone users, though Barclays does say that it plans to offer an Android-based online banking app that will allow customers to log into their bank accounts and make remote deposits. It’s a cutting-edge system that will certainly revolutionise how people conduct their banking – except that it’s not exactly news to anyone from across the pond.

I hate to point it out, but British banks are kind of letting the side down when it comes to banks from different countries. In the United States, for instance, there are a multitude of banks and financial service institutions that offer online cheque deposits through smartphone apps – and have been doing so for several years now. It’s a little embarrassing that it’s taken Barclays so long to suss out how to manage the trick of using something as rudimentary as taking a photo of a cheque in order to make a deposit when those bloody colonists have been doing it for nearly half a decade.

Then again, this is Barclays we’re talking about. Hardly a brand name you would associate with anything close to cutting-edge technology, or forward thinking customer service. In fact, I’m not sure any of the High Street banks are really in any rush to offer revolutionary banking experiences to any of their customers. I know that sounds a bit dismissive, but let’s be honest here: do you really think of the typical High Street bank and equate it with things like convenience and cutting edge technological innovations?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

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