UK financial organisations offer Firefox support

'We recognise that more and more people are using Firefox, so it's something we want to support,' says one high-street bank

Two large financial companies in the UK have pledged to try to make their Web sites compatible with Mozilla's Firefox, a week after it celebrated its first birthday.

A spokesman from high street bank Abbey National told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that it hopes to add full support for the open source browser in the near future.

"We recognise that more and more people are using Firefox, so it's something we want to support. We will be looking into this early next year," said the spokesman, although he was unwilling to guarantee that Firefox support would be added in 2006.

At present "most" of the Web site works with Firefox, according to the spokesman. But, if a user tries to log onto the online banking facility, a page is opened that advises users to switch to Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Netscape.

"Upgrade Browser," states the title of the page, which warns that the user's current browser will not provide the "required level of performance and security".

Abbey is not alone, either. A spokesman from life and pension provider Prudential said that it was adding partial support for Firefox next year.

"In the past we have concentrated on Internet Explorer as this has been by far the most popular browser. However we aim to make our site accessible to all, and all future developments are intended to work across all of the main browsers," said the spokesman. "Our site is being updated to work with a number of the most popular browsers from February 2006: Internet Explorer 5+, Firefox, Safari, Netscape 5+."

The spokesman said its secure messaging service, known as PruMail, may be made accessible to non-IE users at a later date.

"We are reviewing the accessibility and usability of PruMail with the intention of improving the user experience and making it accessible to a wider range of browsers later in 2006," said the Prudential spokesman.

A number of other UK financial organisations already offer support Firefox for their online banking services, including Barclays, Halifax and Alliance & Leicester.