As I was paying my Citibank business credit card bill last night, apparently one day late (oops again), I noticed three new data fields to the payment summary box (note 1):
- Dollar amount of payments in process as of today from any channel(note 2)
- Number of payments made online this statement period
- Dollar amount of payments made online this statement period
Consumers often forget whether they’ve paid the bill or not, so it’s important to provide help so they needn’t click around the site, or worse, call customer service.
While I love the functionality, the bank could have been a bit clearer in language used. For example, I don’t think real people call their credit card payment a "payment request." While that term satisfies the legal folk, who I’m sure argued that it’s only a "request" until the money actually arrives, it’s not consumer-friendly language and the bank does not provide an explanation.
Lastly, there’s an unfortunate lag in the updating of the "payment in progress" field. Immediately after paying my $30.80 statement balance, it shows up in the "online payment requests" field, but not in the "payment in progress" (see first screenshot). A day later, everything was in sync (second screenshot).
Despite these drawbacks, it’s a good improvement in transparency, and every issuer should offer similar info.
Citibank online credit card system (16 May 2012)
Note: This screenshot was taken after I’d paid the statement balance, so the "requests" fields shows 1 payment for $30.80. Unfortunately, "The Total Payments in Progress" did not reflect that yet, a confusing misalignment of posting times.
Payment info box a day later (17 May 2012)
Note: Now the dollar amount in both fields match up.
1. To be honest, I’m not sure how long this data has been available. It’s possible the bank has been showing it for a long time and I just hadn’t noticed. Perhaps someone from Citi will comment and I’ll update the post.
2. The exact explanation of this field from the Citi help popup:
This is the total amount of payments that you have recently submitted that have not yet posted to your account. This amount includes payments made through: Online Bill Pay, AutoPay or Pay by Phone. Please Note: Any payment made on a weekend or holiday will be applied as of the day you make it. However, it will not be posted until the next business day. Any payment scheduled to be applied for a future date is not included.