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Barclays to trial beacon technology in branch

In a UK banking first, Barclays has announced an in-branch beacon technology trial to make life easier for customers with disabilities.

Based within an app, the technology will notify branch staff when a customer with an accessibility need enters the branch. The initiative, developed in response to a customer from the Barclays Sheffield branch, will reduce the need for customers to have to explain their accessibility needs each and every time they enter the branch, and will allow colleagues to assist customers more effectively.

Customers can choose to opt-in to the service by pre-registering their information through an app. These customers can share information about their accessibility need and even a photo of themselves, so they can be identified as soon as the app senses the Beacon and sends a notification to a colleague in the branch.

A colleague with an iPad at the front of the branch will then be alerted of their arrival, allowing Barclays to provide a quicker and more tailored service for any customer with an accessibility need.

Barclays ongoing efforts to lead the charge with accessibility in banking has been recognised by many including The Department for Work and Pensions. Mark Harper, Minister of State for Disabled People said: "We know that one in five of us have impairment and it is encouraging to see work from banks like Barclays to make it easier for disabled people to go about their everyday life with greater ease. Disabled people and their families have a spending power of £200 billion every year, so the case for making all businesses as accessible as possible is stronger that ever."

Barclays has prioritised customer accessibility and carried out various initiatives in the past 12 months including ‘BESS’ the Barclays Elderly Simulation Suit where over 50 Barclays staff trialled the outfit. It was designed for staff to test the banking facilities to understand the issues that elderly customers face on a daily basis and gain real insights into how these customers could be assisted further.

Other initiatives to support customers with accessibility needs include high visibility debit cards designed to aid visually impaired customers enabling them to easily identify their card in busy environments. Barclays also became the first bank in the UK to introduce Audio Cash Machines enabling customers with poor vision to use headphones to be guided through the services available at the banks ATMs.

Elaine Draper, Director of Accessibility and Inclusion at Barclays said:

"The work that we have already carried out around accessibility has raised awareness of the issues that people with disabilities face when entering bank branches. Beacons are the latest in a long line of innovative initiatives from Barclays designed to make our customers lives easier, particularly important for people with non-visible disabilities – something our customers have told us is an issue".

"We are working hard to prioritise accessibility for customers, and are consistently working with our partners to ensure we’re providing an industry leading service for all. Our ultimate aim is to be the most accessible and inclusive bank in the UK and this initiative supports our ongoing efforts".