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Mobile services are for “quick tasks” in the corporate treasury workflow

In the corporate treasury department workflow, mobile definitely has a major role, but it is not for everything. Usage of Citi’s mobile services shows that they are being used primarily for critical “quick tasks”, particularly for those in senior treasury roles who are frequently on-the-go.

Citi mobile services usage

Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions has processed over $1trillion globally, in client transaction value, on CitiDirect BE® Mobile and CitiDirect BE® Tablet since 2011. The mobile services, which mirror the online services, are global and multi-lingual: 

  • CitiDirect BE Mobile, launched in 2011, is live in 92 countries, 16 languages
  • CitiDirect BE Tablet, launched in 2013, is live in 83 countries, 9 languages:

The usage has been primarily for “quick tasks”, e.g. approving payments or trade transactions, getting an account balance, rather than managing a liquidity management programme which is typically carried out on the desktop device. The beauty of mobile lies in the simple convenience of receiving an alert while away from the desk, and being able to immediately act on it right from the mobile / tablet device.  Mobile treasury is a central theme for Citi in enhancing the client experience, as CitiDirect BE Mobile and CitiDirect BE Tablet offer an intuitive consumer-like user experience that clients have come to expect even in their professional lives.

Citi offers an omni-channel experience in which users can access the data across a range of devices, while consistently respecting the entitlements and security preferences that clients have set up.  While mobile services usage represents about 5% of desktop transactions (due to a fuller desktop feature set, including full integration with high value file payments), mobile users represent just about 10% of online users. 

The existence of mobile services has not changed the payment approval flows or who accesses the account balances. Mobile makes it easier to carry out these basic “quick tasks” anytime and anywhere.

Cybersecurity concerns

Mobile services users have raised some concerns on cybersecurity best practices, e.g. how to add beneficiaries. Since 1999, Citi have provided a physical token to approve payments. Last year, they launched MobilePASS, a new capability enabling users to log in to CitiDirect BE®, CitiDirect BE® Mobile and CitiDirect BE® Tablet by leveraging their smart phones to generate dynamic passcodes, instead of the physical token (SafeWord cards).

MobilePASS provides clients with:

  • an enhanced client experience by simply using the mobile device already carried to login
  • increased security by leveraging the user’s additional mobile device security features such as PIN, Swipe, Fingerprint, etc.
  • a quick and easy onboarding for new users that takes just minutes without the need for the delivery of a physical token
  • a faster login with fewer steps than the SafeWord Card
  • compliance with local regulatory requirements
  • easy access to MobilePASS via download from the App Store, BlackBerry World, Google Play, or the Windows Store.

(MobilePASS is provided by SafeNet Inc., the provider of the SafeWord Card.)

For CitiDirect BE Mobile and CitiDirect BE Tablet users, this means that they can authenticate and manage tasks conveniently using a single device while traveling, without the need to carry an additional hardware. This greatly simplifies the user experience, while preserving security.  

Citi is evaluating the usage of biometrics for user authentication, but as, Hubert JP Jolly, Managing Director at Treasury & Trade Services, Citi, says, “Security is top priority for institutional clients. Through our pilots, we haven’t yet found a biometric solution that reliably offers sufficient trust & comfort for our clients.”

Customisation and role of mobile

Citi sees mobile primarily as a platform to do ‘’quick things” - immediate access to critical cash position data, or urgent transaction management.  In addition, CitiDirect BE Tablet leverages the larger screen real estate of tablet devices to intuitively display a dashboard of global account balances - where users can quickly filter, pivot and customize data views for critical business intelligence at their fingertips.  However, heavy analytics tends to be reserved for desktop.  

For instance, CitiDirect BE Portal’s customizable dashboard, supports more than thirty widgets – which can be dragged, dropped, and customized to meet the individual user’s needs – and covers a wide arrange of functions including (but not limited to):

  • viewing balance data
  • initiating & approving payments
  • running, viewing & downloading reports or datasets
  • managing users & entitlements
  • adding shortcuts to frequently performed tasks.

Such customization is critical for clients, all of whom expect a personalized online banking experience.

Future role of mobile

Overall, Citi have found that clients need to go back to the desktop to use the full analytics capabilities in TreasuryVision. Jolly feels that, although the use of tablets for analytics may change as desktop devices morph into quasi tablets, the current client demand for mobile services will be primarily for the “quick tasks.”

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