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Halifax offers free anti-virus software to Net customers

It's another PR coup. Hopefully we'll forget the bank's bad side

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Halifax has said it will give free anti-virus software to its Net banking customers and has promised to cover any online fraud - something it was criticised for not doing by an Internet watchdog.

In a bit of a PR coup, top man David Walkden has waxed lyrical about how the £20 software (retail price) will give its customers piece of mind and presumably make everyone sign up for its wonderful service. This is a classy approach to what could have been a very different story.

The Foundation for Information Policy Research criticised Halifax (as well as Egg and the Bank of Scotland) back in July for not capping how much customers would be liable for in a case of online fraud. No one was very impressed. Following further cock-ups since then, the report was starting to carry the tag "stick" and being used to beat the online banks whenever they made a mistake.

By kicking out a piece of anti-virus software (downloadable or on CD-Rom from end of September and with updates on its site) - which, let's face it, must cost the bank about £2 a throw - not only does it get some good press attention but can also co-announce that it has corrected its most-publicised error. (Incidentally, the software is that world-famous anti-virus kit Trend Micro's PC-cillin 2000.)

In fact, so excited were we about the news that we nearly forgot about its much-delayed Intelligent Finance site that was supposed to go live last month and has yet to see the light of day. Except we didn't. ®

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