citiThere will always be the last minute, spur of the moment, mid­dle of nowhere trans­ac­tions we will need to per­form, away from the con­ve­nience of our office / home computer.

Say for instance, you were over­seas, or in a loca­tion with­out free wifi, and with­out easy access to your bank’s ATM net­work (or that your bank hap­pens to be the one iden­ti­fied as the ‘people’s bank’, mean­ing there are always long queues at their ATMS, and by the time you get to the front of these queues, the ATM for­tu­itously ser­vices itself);

And say for instance, while you were there, you needed to send money urgently to your bro­ker, your bookie or your dealer, fail­ing which you’d lose out on a bar­gain, YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR BANKING SERVICES from your brand new iPhone, Black­berry or any inter­net capa­ble cell phone.

What would you want to see on your phone’s screen when you access your bank’s mobile ser­vice site? Apart from your account bal­ance being more than you expect, you would want all trans­ac­tions you per­form to be eas­ily acces­si­ble on the screen.

You would also want the con­nec­tion to be secure.

While I was look­ing at the spec­i­fi­ca­tions sent to me by the good peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing Citi, I thought about the two-factor authen­tifi­ca­tion require­ment for online bank­ing, and thought that it’d be really dif­fi­cult to log-in, close the browser to check for the code sent via sms, and then going back to the browser again to enter the authen­ti­ca­tion PIN.

Well, it turns out that there is such a thing as a Flash SMS.

A Flash SMS is a mes­sage that hap­pens really quickly. No lah. It’s actu­ally an SMS your phone receives which appears as a layer on top of the browser page you’re on. So, yes, you don’t have to close the browser win­dow to read the SMS. So yes, you can enter the authen­ti­ca­tion PIN directly into the login win­dow. Tres flash! Tres convenient!

You can also con­duct cross-currency trans­ac­tions (to Citi accounts over­seas), and this is made even more con­ve­nient with instant for­eign exchange rates within the mobile portal.

And once you’ve got­ten your bank­ing trans­ac­tions out of the way, you can breathe a sigh of relief, and won­der what to do next. If you’re Sin­ga­porean, you’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing where you can get a bite to eat.

In which case, don’t log out of the por­tal yet. You can get great deals on Citibank Gourmet Plea­sures, which is listed on the por­tal and promises you “the best deals at over 1,000 locations”.

You can then call up your friends and act all gen­er­ous and buy them a treat. If for some rea­son you still need to find a Citibank ATM or a branch or a Cit­igold Cen­ter (I have found a need for one before – I got the Cit­igold staff to pho­to­copy some­thing for me urgently), there is a facil­ity called “Find My Citi” (on the same URL) where you can do just that.

Both online ser­vices (bank­ing and loca­tor) can be book­marked (as wid­gets or icons) on the iPhone and whichever other makes and mod­els of mobile phones which are data and browser capa­ble, mak­ing Citibank ser­vices just a cou­ple of clicks away.”

login screen on iPhone — choice of sms or if you like car­ry­ing online secu­rity devices with you, your one-time pin from that thing

flash over­lay with OTP

OK done, let’s go eat

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  • Ben­jamin Lee

    From Adver­to­r­ial: Citibank mobile ser­vices

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