The UK's first internet-only bank is allowing people to open up accounts online before the group's o...
The UK's first internet-only bank is allowing people to open up accounts online before the group's official launch later this autumn.
First-e features an introductory offer bonus interest rate of 0.5% above the base rate, currently 5%, on its savings account. This enhanced rate will be held until 31 January 2000.
The bank is launching with a basic savings account only but will add further products before the end of the year, including a current account and investment and trading account facilities.
Xavier Azalbert, chief executive officer for First-e, said: "Customers can carry out banking transactions online, ensuring the bank's costs are minimal. As the customer inputs all information personally there is also a reduced chance of error as each account holder is dealing with his or her own money.
First-e calculates interest daily, which is then paid gross on a monthly basis without deduction of tax.
Because the group outsources its core banking operations and has no traditional branch network to support, First-e has no bank charges. It has free internet banking and 24-hour access to account information, with the only cost amounting to the usual connection charge.
It also offers transfers to other UK banks and same-day transfers between First-e accounts at no cost. There is a £5 premium charged for transactions executed via the group's call centre.
Azalbert said: "More households in Europe are conducting their financial affairs online. Changing demographic trends indicate a dramatic increase over the next five years to the level reached in the US where presently five million people use some form of online banking. This figure is forecast to increase to 21% by 2001. Online banking in the UK is in its infancy.
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