Halifax aims to cash in on online banking

4 Jun 2007

One of the newest entrants to the Irish banking world Halifax is planning to take on the large Irish banks in the online banking market and yesterday unveiled new online banking, credit card and loan application services.

Halifax Ireland’s e-commerce manager James Moore said that at present both AIB and Bank of Ireland claim to have between 20 and 30pc of their banking customers using online banking services.

“Due to the fact that many of our Irish customers are willing to shop around and change banks for a better deal we believe they would be savvy and we would achieve a better percentage of online customers,” said Moore.

Halifax claims to be the first bank in Ireland that allows customers to apply for a current account online through the www.halifax.ie website. This follows the introduction of online applications for Halifax credit cards and personal loans.

The new online service has all of the functionality that both AIB and Bank of Ireland have on their websites as well as additional services such as email confirmation when payments and standing orders are set up online.

The service also allows Halifax customers to change their statement frequency online as well as change contact details such as telephone and email online.

The online banking system was built for Halifax by HBOS in Belfast, which also built Sainsbury’s online banking service. The new service also includes the ability to search for transactions by date and amount.

Under the current account offer, customers who fund their Halifax current account with €1,500 each month will attract 10pc interest on money in the account up to a balance of €2,000.

The online banking system’s project manager Ciara O’Sullivan explained that system was piloted on 100 Halifax accounts. She added that the new online banking service was built on a .NET platform.

Security will no doubt be a key aspect of any online banking offering and, according to Moore, the safeguarding of security details will be paramount. “We’re going to be using multiple prompt questions if someone is trying to change a password, for example.”

He said that while phishing threats to online banking customers have not gone away, it is less of a problem as online bankers are more aware of the problem and are more vigilant when it comes to protecting their security details.

“The main banks in Ireland – AIB and Bank of Ireland – have between 20pc and 30pc of their customers using their online banking services but we believe we will see a higher proportion use our service.

“People who have a tendency to shop around and change their bank are most likely to be internet users,” said Moore.

By John Kennedy