Nationwide and its most peculiar Net banking plans

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Nationwide is putting Web terminals in its branches to let customers check their accounts online for free. The building society is splashing out £250,000 on the scheme to install terminals in 250 branches by the end of May. If the plan is a success, it hopes to extend the Internet banking facilities to all 682 branches. It is aimed at attracting existing customers who are not familiar with online banking, as well as those who regularly use the service but are away from their office or home PC. In reality, this is not so much a great leap forward from Nationwide, but more of a sideways shuffle. Nationwide first launched its Internet banking facility in 1997 and now lays claim to 130,000 e-banking customers. Brian Davis, Nationwide's chief executive, said: "Our Internet banking service is already free, and now members will be able to access it in over a third of our branches as well as at home. We are bringing the internet to the High Street for our members so that, if they are away from home or work, or if they haven't yet got online and want to see what finance on the internet can offer them, they can come in and simply serve themselves, with staff on hand to help them." ® Related Stories Net banking is for Scandinavians in anoraks Queen forced into online banking Online banking hits the right note Online bankers take off

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