Thursday, September 11, 2008

a month to get citibank to pay itself

one of the problems with coming to america is having to remember to pay off my credit cards in time. got stung last month as i just forgot to pay one of them off - citibank mastercard. whenever i went to the site it just showed some balance and some faroff date. when it stopped working i went to the site and it looked completely normal - no message such as - you're late. i then phoned them up and they said i was in arreas. i guess i was, but they didn't make much of an effort to let me know, apart from a monthly statement email - who reads that stuff?

anyway, i asked how i could "switch on" automatic debiting as i had in uk. presumably going from my citibank current account to my citibank mastercard should be a breeze. oh no. they had to send me a form - which took a week to arrive, and then fill in loads of fields and sign it and send it back (which of course i've failed to do so far). they say it'll take about 2-3 weeks once received to process. so well over a month to allow me to pay me.

this fascination with the mail and paper pushing is rather 1970s. c'mon citibank - get with the programme, and send some of your folks to see how europe has weaned itself off the paper monster.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Welcome to the US... You know, there is such a thing as e-bills and most banks/checking accounts in US offer that - all setup on internet, no paperwork, all automated one-time click and you are done... Just the way you like it - surprised you don't know about that...

katherine

Stephen Johnston said...

yes, thanks katherine. am sure these things exist and do work fine, but it just seems so much harder to set up than direct debits back in uk, which seemed to only require a nod of the head to authorize. just a question of getting used to i guess.

SDJ said...

Hmmm "all automated one-time click and you are done"...

Actually, despite the marketing, "e"bill payments in the US generally seem to involve (i) you entering the data via a web interface (ii) the bank staff manually re-keying the data into the interbank funds transfer system and (iii) the money then being transferred to the payee's bank. I guess it's because there are so many banks.

Of course, that shouldn't excuse intra-bank transfers, though some groups do keep their businesses on separate IT platforms.

SDJ said...
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