[UPDATE: Citibank responded to say it was experiencing significantly high volume of user registrations, resulting in "intermittent disruptions" on the website. Its spokesperson added that the system upgrade was necessary to roll out a new user interface for its online banking website, which now allows its customers to access all their Citibank accounts via a single username.]
SINGAPORE--Customers of Citibank's online services have reported encountering problems accessing their account after the bank deployed a system upgrade over the weekend.
Citibank last week posted several reminders on its Facebook page informing customers it will be upgrading its systems from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, disrupting several services including online banking, mobile banking, ATM transactions, self-service phone banking, and one-time password for online purchases with 3D Secure merchants.
It updated its Facebook status Sunday night stating the system upgrade had been completed, and affected services were back up and running. However, several customers commented on the update with reports of problems logging into their account, as well as difficulty navigating the bank's new online banking system.
Noting that she was locked out of her account, "Wendy He Xinyi" said: "I tried registering for a new user ID and password but I keep getting an error message, 'The information you have entered cannot be recognized. Please contact our 24-Hour CitiPhone banking for further assistance'." She said she had keyed in the correct information, but continued to receive the same error message.
She called the bank's customer service but the operator also was unable to resolve the issue. "If the new system is not ready yet, please don't start it (with so much problems) and affect so many customers as it will only pissed many people off," Wendy He lamented.
"I actually thought it was a scam--what bank asks you to register at a new address with username and password?"
- Citibank customer, Brendon Chase
Several customers reported encountering similar "restricted access" and "information not recognized" error messages, including attempts to access the payment page.
Another customer "Meiyan Lin" also noted that the new online banking system now requested for a PIN when, previously, customers who wished to use their credit card without needing to withdraw money from their account would not be required to do so.
One Citibank customer in Singapore, Brendon Chase, told ZDNet in an e-mail that he received an e-mail from the bank informing him to re-register for its new online service. This note was sent out a few days before the bank carried out the system upgrade.
"I actually thought it was a scam--what bank asks you to register at a new address with username and password?" questioned Chase, who has been a Citibank customer for four years. "Shouldn't they just do it the next time you log in, rather than direct you to a new site?"
Customers were told the system upgrade would "wipe out" account details and they would have to re-enter them manually, he said. For instance, payee accounts he stored to transfer monthly rent and bill payments would have to be re-entered into his account. A director with an international marketing agency here, Chase said he currently does not have any banks on his clientele.
When contacted, a Citibank spokesperson told ZDNet it deployed a new user interface for its online banking site to enable a "more seamless and convenient way" for customers to conduct transactions. New features included a single-user ID, which allows its customers to access all their Citibank accounts via one username and password, she said.
"There is no impact on customers' accounts, including pre-configured payees," she added.
According to the spokesperson, customers were informed of the new login process, as well as the scheduled downtime while the upgrade was rolled out over the weekend, via various communications channels including Facebook, the bank's website, and e-mail.
The bank, however, experienced high volumes for the single-user ID registration on its online banking site, she said. which resulted in intermittent disruptions. This was also highlighted on its Facebook page.