Magazine article American Banker

Barclays Vends Insurance Via ATMs: System Getting Six-Month Trial in British Branches

Magazine article American Banker

Barclays Vends Insurance Via ATMs: System Getting Six-Month Trial in British Branches

Article excerpt

LONDON -- Trying a new approach to serving customers with computers rather than humans, Barclays Bank PLC is testing automated teller machiens that sell insurance.

The service, called Touch-Bank, is being tested at nine Barclays' branches across Britain over the next six months.

"We're giving this service a fair crack of the whip to see if customers like it," said Diana Skidmore, a manager in Barclays' financial services division.

The trial will cost about $1.8 million, Ms. Skidmore said.

After a customer inserts a bank card, the system operates much like a conventional ATM, but it has a touch-sensitive display screen with a menu listing both household and travel insurance policies. It will provide details and quotations for insurance, and then print out documents confirming immediate coverage if customers decide to take the policy.

While other banks such as Citicorp and Fleet/Norstar Financial Group have installed machines with touch-sensitive displays that can provide quotations for a range of financial services, Barlcays, claimed that the ability to actually take out an insurance policy is a first in Britain.

"This is by far the most comprehensive package available," Ms. Skidmore said.

Customized Software

The technology being used is based on conventional NCR ATMs with attached printers, though Barclays has written much of the software itself to provide the extra sophistication required, she said.

Because of the processing time to deal with requests, the machines will operate separately from existing ATMs. …

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