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Banking websites under-perform

31 March 2004
UK online banking websites are failing to provide an adequate service for their customers, according to new research.

A survey by the website testing firm Business2www revealed that visitors are regularly being greeted by poor accessibility, HTML coding errors and slow response times.

Only two sites were error-free - Birmingham Midshires and Lloyds TSB.

The best of the 32 sites were Birmingham Midshires and The Co-operative Bank. Propping up the league were the Bank of Ireland, Abbey and Britannia.

Another study by Jyra Research echoed these findings. According to the website, Jyra looked at the Lloyds, NatWest, First Direct, Midland and Citibank sites and found nearly 50 per cent of attempts to access Citibank's site failed. NatWest had a 34 per cent failure rate and the longest response time.

Paul Robinson, chief executive of Jyra Research, said: "Among the main UK banking providers there's a massive variation in [website] performance."

Business2www also tested the sites against the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines, which aim to ensure people with disabilities are not prevented from accessing information on the website

A similar survey carried out by the company last month found many public sector sites were flouting the government's own guidelines.