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Rise of the machines sees Barclays turn cashiers into tablet-toting bankers

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 offer advice to customers and guide them on how to use self-service machines for basic transactions.

Banks are keen to automate more basic services within branches, such as withdrawing and depositing cash and paying bills, as customers become more comfortable with remote banking.

A report published last week by the British Bankers Association and accountancy firm EY found that Britons are now using mobile and internet banking for transactions worth nearly 1 billion pounds 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, which has more than 1,500 branches in the UK, said that the new role will give staff the opportunity to use their skills and help customers with services they could not provide from behind a counter, such as setting up direct debits.

Barclays' rivals Royal Bank of Scotland and Virgin Money have already started to transform their branch experience 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.

(Reporting by Yousra Elbagir; Editing by David Goodman)

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