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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK

Business: The Company File

Nationwide-Barclays cashpoint deal

Barclays was set to charge customers of other banks

The Nationwide and Barclays Bank have reached a deal in a bitter dispute over charging customers for using cash machines.

The BBC's Denise Mahoney: "Barclays deny it's a climbdown"
Nationwide, the UK's largest building society, had threatened to sue Barclays.

High-level representatives from each side went into face-to-face talks to try to hammer out a solution.

Now Nationwide has delayed its legal action.

And Barclays has agreed to postpone the introduction of the controversial charges, which were due to come into force next month.

[ image: Cashpoint usage is part of every-day life]
Cashpoint usage is part of every-day life
Nationwide chiefs had warned the legal action would go ahead unless the sides reached an agreement on Thursday.

The bank had planned to charge customers of Nationwide and other rival banks £1 each time for hole-in-the-wall access to their money through the Link network.

Brian Davis, Nationwide's chief executive, and John Varley, chief executive of Barclays retail financial services, met at Nationwide's headquarters in Swindon. Before the meeting, Barclays was reported to have offered a compromise.

Consumer interest

In a joint statement, Nationwide and Barclays said they believed it was in consumers' interests for there to be a speedy resolution and they had called on Link to bring its members together urgently to bring about a solution.

A Nationwide spokesman had said they would issue legal proceedings if Barclays has not backed down by the close of business on Thursday.

Nationwide said the proposal contravened the rules of the Link agreement between a network of banks and building societies, set up to allow reciprocal use of their cash machines.

Nationwide also accused Barclays of ignoring the interests of consumers.

Fair - or profiteering?

Barclays defended its decision, which it said allowed it to focus on its own customers.

Bank customers are often charged for using other banks cash machines, Barclays said, and they would be the first to make it clear to customers before they take out the cash that they would be charged for doing so.

"We want to make it as fair, as clear and as simple as possible," a Barclays spokesman said.

Nationwide chief executive Brian Davis previously told the BBC that Barclays was "just profiteering".

Mr Davis said: "Link exists to provide common access to a widespread cash machine network in the UK and this was perfectly clear to Barclays when they joined earlier this year."

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