Barclays Boosts Digital Expertise with bPay Bands, In-House Tech Experts

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Cash transactions will account for less than half of all transfers for the first time this year, so Barclays has unleashed 7,000 employees, “Digital Eagles,” to offer up free advice on how to manage digital transactions—and everything else the internet offers.

New research found that more than 11 million Britons are having family arguments over digital issues: 34 percent regularly ask members of their family to help with IT queries and problems, while 41 percent being asked do not feel qualified to help. Nearly one in three help relatives use modern tech at least twice a week, and children are the primary “digital carer” with 24 percent of queries coming to them.

“We have listened to families in the UK and understand the challenges faced across the generations,” said Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director at Barclays and Pioneer of the Digital Eagles. “Through our ‘Digital Eagles’ program, we want to take customers and non-customers on a journey to improve their technology capabilities and feel confident to embrace the new digital revolution, so they can reap the benefits of being online. Whether they’re 10 or 110, we don’t want to leave anyone behind.” 

The Digital Eagles can help answer questions about online and mobile banking, but can also show customers how to place a Skype call, install anti-virus software on their computers and pay using digital transactions.[more]

As the UK’s largest credit card provider with more than 10 million accounts, Barclays has been a pioneer in online banking and mobile banking with its payment app Pingit. Now Barclays is joining in on the wearable tech frenzy with its launch of bPay, a contactless payment wristband that allows users to make payments from one of 300,000 UK terminals. The bands have been trialed at London festivals ahead of their public launch in 2015. 

“The bPay bands are part of a wider revolution in wearable technology, which will allow people to negotiate daily life without using cash,” the Daily Mail reports. “The rubberised and waterproof bands, which contain a computer chip and micro-aerial to communicate with terminals, have the security benefit that they are less likely to be lost or stolen than a wallet or purse.” 

Banks like Barclays will benefit on many fronts from more digital payments, as they collect a transaction fee from retailers for every swipe and digital transactions cost much less to handle than cash. Already ahead of the curve with contactless credit cards, Barclays knows it has the digital chops to make bPay a success. 

“We’re the only financial institution in the UK that has both sides of the equation,” Barclaycard CEO Valerie Soranno Keating said. “We can actually create the tipping point.”

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