Giving our customers choice and control.
By Citi May 11, 2010 12:58 PM
Consumer financial products, such as debit and credit cards, are powerful tools to be used carefully. That's why at Citi, we make it a priority to embed in them features that give our customers more choice and control in how they spend, save and borrow.
We're proud to have industry-leading innovations that help our customers take charge of their finances. For example, our Citi Forward® card rewards our customers for using credit wisely and helps them see the benefits of maintaining healthy credit. Those consumers who make purchases within their credit limit and make timely payments on their card can reduce their purchase APR. Our award-winning Use Credit Wisely website also offers consumers important financial education information and tools.
At Citi, we have also been out front with our long-standing policy of not allowing overdrafts at ATMs or on point-of-sale debit purchases, so that customers can avoid surprising, frustrating and expensive fees. An impending Federal Reserve rule change has compelled other financial institutions, who have been charging as much as $35 per overdraft, to follow our lead. Under the proposed new rule, banks will be able to charge overdraft fees on ATM and point-of-sale transactions only if customers first opt in to overdraft protection. While this is a good first step, Citi believes the new "opt-in" rule does not go far enough in protecting consumers and giving them meaningful choice when they need it. Before a customer can be charged for an overdraft at an ATM or when using his or her debit card, he or she should be given the choice -- at the point of sale -- to approve the transaction or not.
We aim to put more options in front of our customers so they can better track their funds. Citi does this by offering low balance alerts, mobile banking, and free balance inquiries or fund transfers at other banks' ATMs. On request, we can also link savings and money market accounts to checking accounts to cover accidental overdrafts for a modest $10 transfer fee. For those who ultimately do overdraw an account, we don't charge sustained or continuous overdraft fees, unlike some other financial institutions.
Other Citi money management tools include Auto Save, a tool that automatically transfers money to savings at a pace that fits each customer's goals, as well as 24-hour online banking, so our customers can pay bills, view account activity, make transfers, send wires and use a wide variety of other self-service options.
The financial crisis brought into sharp focus the interdependence of consumers and their banks. This experience shows that not only do we need to practice and lead in responsible finance, but we also need to provide the tools to help our customers do the same.