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What works: Chase or Citi’s mobile banking strategy

July 20, 2012

When it comes to mobile banking, Citi and Chase lead the pack with services that help clients manage their finances while on the go. Here is how the two differentiate their mobile sites and applications.

“At Citi, we are committed to providing our customers with best-in-class banking solutions wherever they are and whenever they need them,” said Tracey Weber, managing director for consumer Internet and mobile banking for Citi North America, New York.

“To achieve that, we can’t focus on some channels and ignore others. Rather, we consider all of the ways our current and prospective customers want to bank and — for each one — we aim to provide them with tailored, well-designed and easy-to-use services that fit each platform,” she said.


Mobile site
Ms. Weber claims that since the beginning of 2012, its mobile monthly users have increased 34 percent and the average number of visits is up 16 percent.

According to the executive, one of the goals of the mobile site is to help educate non-Citi members with information that can potentially be used to turn the consumer into a customer, such as resources about Citi’s products and services.

Citi’s mobile site automatically redirects users at to an optimized page.

The top of the page prominently promotes Citi’s mobile apps. When tapped on, the banner ads walk users through the process of using the apps with demonstrations and links that direct users directly to app stores to download the app.

For a financial institution, walking users through the process of using an app is not only a great way to educate clients, but also helps drive repeat usage so that consumers become comfortable using their devices on a regular basis to access their accounts.

Citi’s mobile site

The mobile banners also help Citi acquire new users with an app, which tends to have a higher loyalty tied with it.

The main page of Citi’s mobile site gives users a choice to log-in either with a bank account or credit card number.

Through the mobile site, users can sign up to have their user ID automatically remembered to help consumers quickly access their accounts. This also helps encourage consumers to come back on a daily basis.

Once users log-in, consumers are shown a screen with each account or credit card’s balance.

Users can then see a rundown of their account history and details.

If users log-in with a credit card log-in, for instance, they can access information on when payments are due and view previous statements.

The mobile site also lets consumers find nearby locations, contact the company through a phone call or email and find answers to commonly asked questions.

A sign-off button is prominently placed in the upper right-hand corner, which is smart to make it large and apparent with the sensitive information that is available on the site.

IPhone app
Similarly to Citi’s mobile site, the company’s app gives users the choice on which accounts they want to manage when first opened – either a bank account or credit card account.

In addition to viewing account history information, the app lets users make and schedule payments. The app includes a landing page with a list of directions to help consumers enroll for online bill payment.

Consumers can also add payee information, which helps speed up the process of making repeat payments.

The app includes all basic features such as payment history for account transfer for both banking and credit card customers.

One of the big pulls of the mobile app for banking clients is mobile deposit. Using a smartphone’s built-in camera, a consumer can take a picture of a check to directly be deposited into a personal account.

Before snapping a picture, the app walks users through the process of making a mobile deposit.

The app integrates Citi’s PopMoney feature that lets users send money to anyone in the United States through an email address or bank account number.

Additionally, consumers can find Citi locations by searching for either all locations or by only branches. Searches can be made with a device’s GPS or by typing in a ZIP code or address.

Citi’s iPhone app

Although the app helps consumers manage their accounts solely on their mobile devices, certain consumers might not be comfortable using their device for their finances and helping them find a nearby location is crucial.

“The streamlined design and simplicity of the services are among the most important features on both our mobile apps and sites,” Ms. Weber said.

“Mobile users are on the go, and they want services that are easy to find and easy to use. Smartphones obviously don’t offer the same real estate that desktops or even laptops do, so we think it would be a mistake to try to cram everything that’s on the main website onto the mobile sites or apps,” she said.

The bottom line: Even though Citi takes advantage of smart features such as mobile deposit and tranfers, the main takeaway point from the company’s efforts center around educating consumers on mobile. To do this, the company uses both demonstrations and instructions to walk users through the benefits of using mobile to its users.


Mobile site
Chase’s mobile site is accessible at

The main page of the site only features three options – an account log-in, contact button and an ATM/branch finder.

The site shows users both ATM and branches by distance away. Additionally, each listing includes an address, phone number, map and hours.

Chase’s mobile site

The contact section includes click-to-call features for multiple areas of the company. Although information such as email addresses might be helpful to some users, by placing the emphasis on phone numbers, Chase realizes that in a pinch consumers are more likely to place a phone call versus email.

Users who log-in via Chase’s mobile site can also see account history, transfer money and make person-to-person payments.

The bottom of the site features a large button promoting the company’s app that links directly to the appropriate App Store. Unlike Citi, Chase does not include any demonstrations or resources on how consumers use the app, which would be helpful to any new mobile banker.

“Chase customers are consistently online and adopting Chase’s digital capabilities,” said Rob Tacey, spokesman for Chase, New York.

“ ranked as the most visited banking portal in the United States in 2011 and currently hosts 15 million registered users and growing at a rate of 600,000 mobile users per month,” he said.

IPhone app
Similar to Chase’s mobile site, the iPhone app lets users either log-in to their account, find an ATM/branch or contact the company.

Once a user logs in, the screen is broken down with both banking and credit card accounts.

Chase’s iPhone app

When consumers tap on an account, the app shows exactly how a particular transaction breaks down, including the date it was made, the amount and the account’s balance after the transaction was made. The app also shows if a transaction is pending.

For credit card users, the app lets users view the basics on their account, such as balance, when the next payment is due and available credit.

To pay bills, consumers can add payees by entering information such as name, ZIP code and bank account number.

Clients can transfer money between accounts, schedule payments and make wire transfers. The app also integrates directly into Chase’s QuickPay program to let consumers send money to others by using an email address.

Chase is also banking on mobile deposits as a main reason for consumers to use the app. Once consumers snap a picture of a check, users can select an account to deposit it to and confirm the amount of the deposit.

Another big feature for Chase’s app is push notifications. Users can choose from a list of alerts and specify what they want to be notified on.

Under the more tab, consumers can find nearby ATM/branches and contact the bank.

The bottom line: Between Chase’s mobile site and app with features such as click-to-call, push notifications and mobile deposit, Chase has packed its mobile initiatives with features for consumers to manage their finances on the go, regardless of what device they are on.

“The free Chase mobile app provides the optimal experience for customers with smartphones because it leverages the device’s native functionality so users can be more productive. For example, Chase QuickDeposit leverages the camera on smartphones and allows customers to deposit checks wherever and whenever they choose,” Mr. Tacey said.

“The mobile site, where customers can view, serves all phone users with a data plan,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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