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Citibank launches Spanish-language version of Citi Mobile

Citibank has launched Citi Mobile en Español to enable customers who prefer to bank and schedule payments in Spanish to do so from their smartphones.

The Spanish-language service lets customers manage their accounts, pay bills and locate Citibank branches, all using their Web-enabled phones. Citibank claims to be the first major U.S. bank to offer mobile banking and payments in Spanish.

“Like the English version, Citi Mobile en Español works on all the popular smartphones and requires no special registration, no downloads, no activation and no separate credentials,” said Marylou Dowd, director of Citi Mobile, New York. “Almost one-quarter of Citi´s U.S. banking customer base is Hispanic.

“Their language preferences vary and there are diverging estimates for the proportion of this population that prefers to interact in Spanish rather than in English,” she said. “It depends on channel, context or situation and task.

“This version ensures customers in this important and growing segment can manage their money anytime, anywhere, regardless of their preferred language.”

Citibank is a member of Citi, a global financial services company with approximately 200 million customer accounts. It does business in more than 140 countries.

Through its two operating units, Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage and wealth management.

Citi Mobile for Smartphones is a mobile banking application built by Citibank with support from Mobile Money Ventures, a joint venture of Citi and SK Telecom that provides mobile financial services applications worldwide.

Citi Mobile en Español is a thin client for use with mobile Web browsers. It is the Spanish version of Citi Mobile for Smartphones.

“Citi was the first major U.S. bank to offer online banking in Spanish in 2004,” Ms. Dowd said. “Now it´s once again the first to offer mobile banking in Spanish.”

Citi has no plan to roll out downloadable applications in Spanish in the near future, preferring instead to focus on the mobile Web.

Hispanics are among the most active mobile Web users in the United States, and Spanish-speakers represent Citibank’s fastest-growing customer segment.

According to a recent independent report on Wireless Internet Use from Pew Research, nearly one-half of English-speaking Hispanic consumers reported accessing the Internet via a handheld device in 2009.

Of these consumers, about 29 percent reported going online “on a typical day” through a mobile device.

Citi Mobile en Español mirrors the functionality of the English-language Citi Mobile for Smartphones. It is accessed via the same URL as the English version,, from any mobile device.

Using Citi Mobile en Español, users of Web-enabled mobile devices including BlackBerry smartphones, Palm devices and the iPhone can view Citi account balances and account activity, pay bills and set up recurring payments, make transfers between Citi accounts, locate Citi branches and ATMs and connect to customer service—all in Spanish.

Citi Mobile en Español provides navigation on virtually any recent device that has a mobile browser and an Internet connection.

Customers enter the same personal User ID and password they would use on their home computer.

So how is Citi getting the word out about the Spanish-language mobile platform?

“The current plan is for online marketing and banners on Citi Web sites, national-scale branch staff training and ‘take-one’ flyers and local actions in specific areas such as California, followed eventually by search-engine marketing,” Ms. Dowd said.