Citi will open iPhone app to non-customers in bid to grow digital presence
Correction: An earlier version of this story implied that Citi's app update was already in effect. The changes will roll out in the coming weeks. The story has been updated to reflect this timeline.
- Citi bank will update its mobile app for iPhone with several features as part of the bank's effort to be a nationwide digital bank in the coming weeks, according to a press release. Non-Citi customers will be able to create a profile and get spending insights and a "360-degree view" of all their financial accounts, which the company says is the first time a bank will do so.
- As part of the expanded services, users will be able to open new accounts on their mobile device in minutes. The app also will analyze individuals' transactions to give customers a better understanding of how they spend and save their money. Customers will have the ability to set goals for weekly spending and receive tips on new ways to save while tracking their cash flows.
- The app update aims to simplify managing recurring payments on a Citi card, such as regular bills for mortgages, student loans, gym memberships and streaming video services. The app will notify customers when a recurring bill increases to ensure they adjust their budget.
Citi has spent the past decade shrinking its retail banking business to focus on more affluent customers and major city centers since the 2008 financial crisis, but the bank now appears to be ready to grow again with its fresh mobile platform and focus on serving the average on-the-go person. This strategy likely means that Citi will be more like upstart Silicon Valley rivals that see financial institutions as providing purely digital services and no longer need costly brick-and-mortar branches, per The Wall Street Journal.
The company seeks to differentiate itself from fintech upstarts by emphasizing the greater trust that consumers have toward established bank brands. Citi sponsored a mobile banking survey that found 87% trust banks more than non-bank institutions when it comes to handling their finances, while 79% prefer to use a single app to manage their finances instead of relying on several specialty mobile apps. These findings suggest that Citi is smart to ramp up its digital and mobile offerings and offer a variety of tools in a streamlined app for today's more tech-savvy consumer.
Citi isn't alone in this pursuit of digital customers, although it is the first bank to develop a broad digital service under its main brand. JPMorgan Chase offers "Finn" while BBVA Compass Bancshares has "Simple" as digital offshoots to capture younger customers. Goldman Sachs introduced a savings account for "Marcus," its retail service named after founder Marcus Goldman.
Mobile banking is a key reason that the biggest U.S. banks have only gotten bigger in the past 10 years, with JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo gaining $2.4 trillion in new deposits. Because of new laws put in place to avert another financial crisis, banks that hold more than 10% of U.S. deposits are banned from merging or buying up other banks, per a separate Journal report. That means banks are looking to grow in other ways, such as by reaching more customers through their additional mobile features.
- Citi / Business Wire Citibank Announces National Digital Banking To Serve Clients Across the U.S.
- The Wall Street Journal Citigroup to Again Be a Nationwide Bank, but in Digital Form
- The Wall Street Journal Biggest Three Banks Gobble Up $2.4 Trillion in New Deposits Since Crisis