New BarclaySquare offers e-cash transactions

Barclays Bank has revamped its BarclaySquare online shopping arcade with support for electronic cash for the first time.

From an alliance with CyberCash and Open Market, Barclays will be able to offer electronic cash transactions, 'digital couponing' allowing discounts to be e-mailed to customers, and status tracking.

Likely to create the most interest is BarclayCoin, developed in accord with US firm CyberCash. It will let users download an 'electronic wallet' linked to a Barclaycard account, and is intended to make it easier to conduct small cash transactions online.

BarclaySquare also welcomes three new retailers to its site: mail-order giant Software Warehouse, Pooh Corner memorabilia specialist, and Ability Plus software.

"Internet usage in the UK is now growing at a rate of between 10 and 15 per cent a month and much more is known about what Net-using consumers and retailers expect from a virtual shopping environment," said Roger Alexander, managing director of the Emerging Markets Group at Barclays.

Barclays claims that over 1.5 million consumers have visited BarclaySquare.