Citi is one of the first credit card companies to produce their own branded iPhone app – called Citi Mobile. It’s pretty much what you’d expect, all of the functionality of the Citi website packaged up in a nice little iPhone app. With the banking part of the app, you can look up ATMs and branches (a great way to avoid fees, it even maps directions for you), check balances, pay bills, and get straight to customer service. With the credit card part of the app, you can check balances and reach customer service. I’m pretty impressed (here’s an interactive tutorial).
I’m really starting to like how credit card companies and banks are coming out with their own iPhone apps. As much as I like online personal finance tools (like Mint, Yodlee, and others) and their apps, there is always the specter of security and identity theft hanging over them. I know that they’re 99.99999% safe, but there’s always that little sliver of doubt. When I give one of the credit bureaus my social security number to get my credit report, I’m less worried because they already have all that information. When I view my Citi mtvU credit card information on their Citi Mobile applications, I’m less worried about security because it’s Citi. They already have my credentials and my information. I’m not giving it to a third party (even if they encrypt it and say they never look at it).
The slickest app is, of course, reserved for the iPhone (no iTouch version yet, though they’re supposed to come out with one later this year) but there versions for dozens of other models. Unfortunately, the Palm Treo, my phone, isn’t one of them so I won’t even be able to play with the non-iPhone version. Maybe I’ll join the cool kids this year and get an iPhone… until I realize the service plan is like a hundred bones a month.
My hope is that every financial services company produces one of these and I suspect, in the coming months, they will.