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Citi expands real-time mobile services for banks

Citi is ramping up its mobile strategy for banks, which are increasingly looking for real-time access to financial information such as payment status.

CitiDirect BE, the company’s online banking platform for financial institutions, has launched two new mobile applications. The Mobile Payment Advisor app enables users to track the status of a payment at any time from any mobile device while the Payments Directory Mobile app provides a database of institutions worldwide that participate in U.S. dollar clearing.

“In existing scenarios, banks rely on servicing tools set up between different correspondent banks to determine the status of their payments,” said Jitendra Chauhan, global head of USD clearing, treasury and trade solutions at Citi, New York.

“Citi’s mission is to provide payment status to a larger group of users by offering readily available access points,” he said.

“The result is an enhanced service experience for banks, delivered by a provider aligned to their own objectives.”

Payment status
The feedback Citi has received from its financial institution clients indicates that real-time access to payment status is an important feature they are looking for.

With this in mind, the CitiDirect BE Mobile Payment Advisor enables banks, their customers, or third parties to track the status of a payment at any time and from any mobile device, similar to tracking the status of a package.

Users will be able to check the up-to-the-minute status of a payment online within seconds.  The app requires no installation or user credentials.

Users enter the sender reference, amount, currency and value date to search for payment status.

The app will also help Citi streamline internal operations by cutting down on the number of calls service centers receive regarding the status of a payment.

Citi reports that currently the majority of phone calls to a given service center are payment status inquiries. Such calls can take several minutes to complete and involve multiple parties.

The next mobile frontier
The Payments Directory Mobile app addresses the need to simplify the process of choosing from one of thousands of correspondent banks to route a payment.

“Citi has at its disposal a vast repository of information to determine the best route of making a payment successfully, across multiple geographies,” Mr. Chauhan said.

“This information is available to our clients in physical form,  CD-rom, through an electronic banking platform, and making it available on a mobile platform was a logical extension for our sophisticated and innovation-focused client base,” he said.

Users can quickly search for clearing intermediaries with filtering preferences.

With businesses executives having a mobile device nearby almost all the time, Citi recognizes that corporate apps are the next frontier for mobile.

As such, the company is mobilizing its online banking applications little by little as part of its overall digital strategy.

“In the payments space within correspondent banking, mobile tools have been launched to very receptive and excited clients,” Mr. Chauhan said. “These new channels allow them to harness Citi’s global presence and we expect an upward trend in adoption of these tools by our significant financial institutions client base.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York