Barclays Bank has set itself up as a free Internet access provider and has combined it with its online banking system.
www.barclays.net has been created with backing from BT which is providing the telephony site and Excite which is providing the portal.
As well as online banking, a shopping mall and realtime share dealing centre, the bank plans to launch services including car insurance.
Barclays free Internet access customers will get five email addresses and access to a business and finance specific communtiy with newsgroups and message boards.
A database of 2,000 companies to which customers usually pay bills has been included, so people can make payments entirely over the Internet.
Initially people who want to join up to barclays.net will have to their local branch to pick up a CD-Rom and open a new account. Within the next six months, however, Barclays will make this entire process available directly on the Internet.
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