By demand, KRAPPS will periodically review “legit” apps thru a network of guest authors.
Title: Citi Mobile
Guest Author: John
What is KRAPPS? Well, I don’t know that I can define it, but I know it when I see it. And the U.S. Banking industry is definitely KRAPPS. Think about it: anyone who bought a fart app may embarrass a few of the more stodgy types, and end up poorer by $0.99, but at least they get some sophomoric laughter out of the deal. But the U.S. banking industry has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, put thousands of people out of work, and made thousands more homeless, without providing even a chuckle!
Citibank has received over $20 Billion and counting of bailout money. And what do we get for our money? Well, an iPhone app, for one! Called Citi Mobile, the app is (mercifully) free. A pleasant “Citi” logo marks their app, and when you run it for the first time, you have to register your iPhone via text message. You also have to enter your PIN every time you run the application. These basic security measures are, of course, necessary. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the app to prevent you from entering your PIN on the “Notes” app so you won’t forget it.
I don’t use many financial apps on my iPhone, mainly because all of my money is tied up in groceries. I have used the Paypal app and I’ve used the mobile web site for another bank. After you enter your PIN to log into the Citibank app, you get a list of your open accounts. I have one savings account and two credit card accounts (I opened up the savings account because they had a deal where 1% of everything I buy on the credit cards gets credited to the savings account, even if I pay my bill off every month!). The last 3 digits of each account number is shown, not the full account number, again for security. You also see the balance of each of the accounts, and you can select “Recent Activity” and “Search Activity” for the savings account. The activity functions are very useful features, and I’m not sure why they’re not available for the credit cards. It would be very nice to be able to check up and see exactly how much that sleazy retailer charged to your credit card while you’re on the way out the door. The activity is available from their web site, and the iPhone app has it for the savings account, so why not for the credit cards?
In addition to looking up your accounts, there are buttons for Payments, Transfers, Locations, and Services. While I don’t use my Citi account for bill paying, I see how it would be useful to have it available on the iPhone. I could see using the Bill Pay or Transfer features if you’re out and about and suddenly remember that you forgot to pay a bill or cover your checking account. The Locations function is nice, in that it uses the GPS to find ATMs and branches in your area (you can also enter a Zip Code or address if you don’t want to use the current location). The Services button allows you to change the app settings or easily call their Customer Service.
All in all, it’s a quite useful app and worth it if you have a Citi account, and while I don’t think that I’d choose them as my bank because of the app, some people might. I just wish the app said “I bailed out Citibank for $20 Billion and all I got was this lousy iPhone app.”