HSBC installs free wi-fi in UK branches
HSBC has installed free wi-fi in 650 of its UK branches, following the lead of Barclays, which introduced free wi-fi in February 2013. Both banks signed with BT to provide the connectivity as a white label service.
The decision to add free wi-fi was supported by a study carried out on behalf of BT and Avaya by Davies Hickman Partners, which asked 2,000 consumers across France, Spain and the UK about their banking behaviours and decisions. The research found that 49% of UK banking customers felt that free wi-fi would “greatly improve” their in-branch experience.
HSBC said that the service would help incentivise customers to use their smartphone or tablet to download the bank’s mobile banking app, as well as test it out in-store together with HSBC staff. Users can also browse the web freely if they choose.
“We’ve been listening to our customers about how we can make banking easier for them, and they tell us they like the idea of mobile banking, but in some cases would value being shown how it works,” said Carl Howard, head of digital for HSBC in the UK. “Our branch staff can now demo our mobile banking app in branch to get people started, as well as demonstrating new features such as the new mobile payment service Paym which allows customers to pay their contacts using just a mobile number.”
HSBC added that £2 billion worth of payments and transfers have been made on its mobile banking app, which was recently revamped in September 2013. The bank’s first app was launched in 2006, but it only allowed customers to check their balance. The new app released in September added the ability to make bill payments to existing beneficiaries and transfer funds between HSBC accounts.
The BT wi-fi service had already been rolled out to 1,500 Barclays branches by April 2013.