Advertorial: Citibank mobile services

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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