Mobile Commerce

Barclays’ Beacons For Banking

Barclays has found a whole new use for beacon technology to personalize and improve customer experience.

Last Monday (Dec. 1), the UK-based bank launched a trial program at one of its branchesleveraging Beacon technology for its customers with disabilities – the first such instance in the UK, Barclays says. Launched in conjunction with the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the program allows bank employees to receive a notification via tablet whenever one of its customers with a disability enters the bank.

While experts predict a rise in the use of such beacon technology across the banking industry, Barclays’ latest effort goes beyond targeted advertising and consumer tracking. The bank hopes the technology will aid its customers with disabilities by reducing their burden in explaining accessibility requirements before visiting a branch. In turn, the program will help employees to more effectively serve, assist, and understand the needs of those customers.

“Traditionally, beacons have been used to send shoppers information,” Fetch mobile strategy manager Esha Shah says of Barclays’ new program. “But through this test beacons are being used to identify people – this is a tactic that can be translated into many other business verticals.”

Despite its possibilities, the initiative is not without limitations. Shah added that the greatest barrier to the adoption of beacon technology is process by which users activate the mechanism – activating Bluetooth, accepting location services, opting in to receiving notifications, and other layers of activation. “Therefore, Barclays will need to have a solid marketing plan in place in order to inform its customers of this program,” Shah said.

But Barclays hopes the benefits of its beacon services will outweigh what some may see as its inconveniences. The bank says users will opt in to the program and have control over how much information they are willing to share. Plus, users can pre-register into the program with required information, including accessibility needs and photo identification.

This isn’t the first instance of Barclays working to facilitate banking for the disabled. The bankhas launched high-visibility debit cards for the visually impaired and became the UK’s first bank to launch Audio Cash Machines that allow visually impaired bank customers to use headphones at ATMs.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.