British bank Barclays is to replace branch cashiers with floor-walking staff sporting tablet computers as personal banking becomes increasingly virtual.

From October, staff will step out from behind their glass booths, armed with tablets to help them advise customers and guide them on how to use self-service machines for basic transactions.

Banks are keen to automate more basic services in branches as clients become more comfortable with remote banking.

A report published last week by the British Bankers Association and accountancy firm EY found that Britons were using mobile and internet banking for transactions worth about £1 billion (R18bn) a day.

The change at Barclays will involve more than 6 500 employees dropping their cashier titles for the new role of “community banker”, with all in-branch staff receiving an average pay rise of 2.8 percent.

The bank said staff would help customers with services they could not provide from behind a counter, such as setting up direct debits.

Barclays rivals Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Virgin Money have already started to transform their branches with state-of-the-art technology.

RBS has begun the installation of self-service machines in branches and Virgin Money recently opened its fourth “lounge”, where customers can eat and drink while using mobile devices and watching television. – Reuters