smile, the Internet bank, has redesigned its website and won instant approval from hundreds of customers and Gomez, the respected, independent, Internet assessment house set up to assess the service offered by on-line banks.
The new look site enables smile’s 350,000 plus account holders to go straight to their account details if they wish while those visiting the site for the first time are still made to feel at home.
Ed Bowie, of Gomez wrote on its website http//www.uk.gomez.com “Early indications suggest that smile’s new look site offers a greater range of features and furthermore downloads more quickly.
“In addition to these performance improvements the appearance of the site has been modified. The garish colours have been toned down and the Cheshire cat and friends have been removed to create a more functional look and feel. Roll-over html is employed to assist navigation and additional features include the new DIY area containing savings and budget calculators and other tools.”
smile’s Chief Executive Bob Head said “Changing anything is a risky business. Being human we do not like change. I always thought that people are more likely to complain than praise but we are currently getting overwhelmingly positive comments.
“The changes have been made for a number of reasons. We wanted the site to faster, be easier to navigate, have more help and be fun and provocative. We appreciate that fun and banking aren’t traditionally associated with each other but we want to change all that.”
The changes don’t affect smile’s accreditation to BS7799 – the British Standard for Information Security Management. And customer details are still protected by 128-bit encryption and many other security features.
Mr Head said “In many ways the website is the bank so any changes are only made following very careful thought and after listening to customer comments.
“When we launched smile 18 months ago everyone visiting us was a first time visitor. However, since then we have attracted more than 350,000 account holders who come to the site on a regular basis to do their everyday banking. Therefore, it must be easy for them to navigate while still acting as a brochure for people new to smile.”
smile, from The Co-operative Bank, is a purpose-built Internet bank, which offers customers a comprehensive range of banking products. If smile customers are temporarily unable to access the Internet for any reason, they can use smile’s dedicated 24-hour a day, seven day a week, service centre, which is staffed by the bank’s own fully-trained people.
Last July, Gomez chose smile as the best on-line bank in the UK. In the two subsequent quarters (October 2000 and February 2001) smile has maintained its number one position, despite increased competition
smile remains the only on-line bank in the world to have been awarded the British Standard BS7799 for Internet security.
In addition to a very competitive interest rate on their current account – 4.07 per cent gross AER on all credit balances – other benefits smile customers are grinning about include
Â· an automatic, no-fee, Â£500 authorised overdraft, with a market-leading rate of just 9.9 per cent.
Â· a special current account for students, with a totally free overdraft of up to Â£2,000, and 4.07 per cent gross AER on all credit balances.
Â· current account holders taking out a credit card pay a standard rate of just 9.9 per cent APR, and also enjoy up to 46 days’ free credit.
Â· personal loans with a typical APR of just 9.5 per cent.
Â· a cash mini ISA paying 6.00 per cent per annum – guaranteed to remain 0.75 above Base Rate until at least New Year 2002, and it fully meets the CAT standards.
Â· current account holders opening a smile no-notice savings account receive 5.25 per cent gross on every pound in their account.Details