by June 17, 2001 0 comments



Allahabad Bank

Allahabad Bank

Allahabad Bank’s online-banking facility is called ALLNET, which lets you [RTF annotation: Online or offline?]check your account balance, status of your checks and transactions; request for a new checkbook; issue demand drafts; inform the bank about change of address; transfer funds; pay utility bills; correspond with the bank to find out about your deposits, TDS, etc. It also provides mailboxes to view all correspondence between you and the bank, or give standing instructions to the bank. When we last checked out their website, this service was available only for customers in Calcutta, Lucknow, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

You can access ALLNET through the ‘Internet banking’ link on Allahabad Bank’s homepage. The bank’s website requires you to install a 128-bit encryption plug-in for Internet Explorer 5.5 before proceeding with the online services. The link points to Microsoft’s website for the plug-in. Interestingly, the digital certificate issued to the site is not in the name of Allahabad Bank, but in the name of ‘Zenith’, the company which powers the bank’s online operations. 

Other facilities include forms for gold deposit scheme, and opening NRI accounts. 

The bank’s website is easily navigable and offers comprehensive information about its products and services. However, the bank’s online response mechanism is poor, as we didn’t get any response to our standard query even days after sending it.

Bank of Punjab

Bank of Punjab

This bank allows you to open a fixed or recurring deposit; enquire about an account’s balance; pay bills; request for a checkbook; issue a DD; transfer funds, etc. 

It also offers mobile banking in New Delhi and select cities of Punjab, and the site announces that these services will soon be launched in Mumbai, too. For this, you need to download an application form depending on who your service provider is. The bank has tied up with Essar, Airtel, and Spice Telecom, and a deal with Orange is claimed to be in progress. The bank also offers telebanking and fax-banking services. 

You can apply for the bank’s online services by filling and sending a downloadable application form or contacting their Customer Care Centre. The bank uses SSL for security and has a digital certificate from
VeriSign.

This site is easy to navigate and gives adequate information, though our query to them didn’t receive any response. The online-banking section, however, has only a demo without any clear guidelines about how to bank online. 

Other services include sending you account alerts and bank news by e-mail; downloadable forms for opening individual, company, or NRI accounts; loans for buying a car or a two-wheeler; remittance application; applying for an ATM or debit card; and partnership and proprietorship letters.

Citibank

Citibank

Citibank offers banking and credit-card services under its online-banking service called
CitiDirect. 

In banking, you can check account status, statements and details of payment received; transfer funds between your accounts or to others; issue a DD or request for a check-book; stop check payments; pay your credit card and utility bills; pay for e-shopping; and buy and sell mutual funds. In your credit-card account, you can view your account statements; increase your credit limit; apply for a second card; pay utility bills; etc.

For corporate bankers, the Internet-banking service is called CitiBusiness Direct, which lets you view statements, issue inter-city checks payable at par at select cities, issue drafts, download and send forms like an application for letter of credit and direct import remittance. You can also apply for loans online. 

To use the bank’s online service, you need what is called a QPIN (Query Personal Identification Number) and an HPIN (Home Banking Personal Identification Number). You can apply for both of these online. The QPIN allows you to access your account only for information like your account status, while the HPIN lets you do transactions through your account.

The site claims that your login session for online banking is triple-DES (Data Encryption Standard) encrypted, while the remaining session will have 128-bit SSL security. It also has a digital certificate from
VeriSign. 

The site boasts of easy navigation and lots of information. However, our online query to them didn’t receive any response. 

FEDERAL BANK

FEDERAL BANK

You can use FedNet, Federal Bank’s online service, for most accounts-related services, like to view updated account details, query your account for specific information, send requests for DDs and checkbooks, and give stop-payment instructions. You can transfer money between your accounts to third-party accounts in FedNet branches, or outside the bank through the FedRequest service. 

You can also pay for online shopping and phone bills (available only for Ernakulam). The site also has forms for registering for ATM services, and opening various accounts. 

The FedNet service is available for over 150 branches that are listed at the bank’s website. To register, you can either get an application form from your branch or download it from the bank’s website, fill it and send it. You can avail of FedNet’s facilities for personal accounts in individual, joint, or sole-proprietorship status. 

You cannot cancel instructions or requests (asking for a checkbook, for instance) once given to the bank online, for which you’ll have to contact the bank’s relationship manager. This might be the case for other online banks as well, but we didn’t find any such information on their websites. 

FedNet has a security certification from VeriSign. The site is friendly, easily navigable, and has a comprehensive FAQ section.

Global Trust Bank

Global Trust Bank

Global Trust Bank’s online-banking service,
ibank@gtb, lets you view your balance, transaction details, term deposit particulars; open and renew term deposit accounts; transfer funds from between your accounts across the bank’s branches; request for checkbooks, demand draft/bankers’ checks; and pay for online shopping, stock, and utility bills. 

For its online-payment services it has tied up with e-brokers (like, Sharekhan.com, 5paisa. com, Kotakstreet.com, Way2Wealth.com), shopping malls (like, Sifymall. com and Fabmart.com), and utility service providers (like, Tata Tele Services and BSNL
Ernakulam). 

You can register for ibank@gtb by downloading and printing an application form from the site, filling it up, and sending it to a branch where you have an account. 

Other forms are also available on the website for opening retail, corporate, personal, investment, and NRI accounts. You can also apply for the bank’s ATM services and phone banking. 

The Internet-banking channel gives very little information, except for listing the services it offers. Also, a search facility at the site would be a great help. We queried this bank about opening a bank account with them, but received no response. 

For security, ibank@gtb claims to use 128-bit encryption.

HDFC Bank

HDFC Bank

The official website of HDFC Bank also offers online banking services– called NetBanking–to its customers. Some of the services you can avail of are to check your savings and current-account balances, get a detailed account statement. You can check the status of a specific check, stop payment of a check, and request for a DD, banker’s check, or a checkbook. You can transfer funds between your different accounts even if they are in separate branches. You can also open an FD account or enquire about an existing FD. Through the site you can also pay your mobile phone, electricity, and telephone bills for the companies listed on the website. Finally, you can also enquire about TDS on your FDs for the current as well as previous financial years.

You can register yourself for NetBanking, provided you have an account with HDFC bank. At the site you’ll find two separate forms–one each for individuals and corporates–in pdf format, which you can download, fill, and send to any of the bank’s branches. Once registered you will receive a password by normal courier, which you can immediately use for accessing your account online. 

The bank has a useful online demo, which gives you a very good idea of what NetBanking has to offer. The site claims to have many security features to keep your transactions safe. It uses SSL to encrypt communication with your PC and the bank, and has also been verified by
VeriSign. 

The site also gives information on opening accounts, loans, mutual funds, etc. It is well designed, and navigating through the sections is simple. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any response to a query about banking with HDFC that we sent to them. However, feedback from an HDFC NetBanking user is that the bank replied within two days when he wrote to them.

ICICI Bank

ICICI Bank

ICICI’s online services, called Infinity Banking are available for both corporate and personal accounts. On your personal account, you can check your account’s balance, get details of account statements, loans, and
FDs. You can transfer funds between your accounts or to another ICICI account holder. Other services include paying utility bills, requesting for a checkbook, stopping check payment, informing the bank of a lost ATM card, and opening a fixed or recurring deposit. 

With a corporate Infinity account, apart from the above, you can open a letter of credit online, access location-wise bank guarantees, inward/outward bills, and upload files (like employees’ salary files and dealer debit files). Multiple people in an organization can handle this account. 

If you’re a corporate account holder, you can contact the bank to avail of Infinity. The procedure for starting a personal Infinity account is fairly confusing. For those who don’t have an ICICI account, you have to first open one, which can be done online or by downloading a form and sending it by post. 

For existing ICICI bank account holders, there are two procedures. The first has a part A and part B. In part A, you have to provide a
userID, password, customer ID, and account number on the site, after which you get a permanent userID and can download part B. You have to print, fill and mail this form to ICICI’s Mumbai office after which ICICI will e-mail you about your account activation. The second procedure involves downloading the same form as in Part B, filling it, and sending it to ICICI’s Mumbai office. ICICI will then send a mailer to you that contains your userID and password. The advantage of the first procedure is that you just need to be informed of the activation of your account, while in the second, you’ll have to change your userID and password after you receive it. 

The website has a search facility, which few banks do. Their customer care is impressive, proof of which is that we got a reply to our e-mail query to them the very next day. As far as security goes, the site claims to be authenticated by
VeriSign. 

Induslnd Bank

Induslnd
Bank

With net.bank, IndusInd Bank’s online facility, you can view your account balances, transaction movements, term deposit and loan details; and request for checkbooks and account statements. 

It also offers forms for opening savings and NRI accounts, and telebanking services in Mumbai. The bank plans to offer corporate-specific services shortly. 

If you already have an account with the bank, you can download an application form from the site, print it, fill it, and post it to an address given on the site to avail of net.bank services. 

The site offers very little information, except for describing the services and registration procedure for
net.bank. 
The bank’s site also doesn’t mention the security features it uses. Also, we did not receive any
response to a query that we sent about opening an account with the bank.

STATE BANK OF INDIA

STATE BANK OF INDIA

For its online banking services, State Bank of India (SBI) has a separate dedicated site at www.onlinesbi.com, while the main site is
www.sbi.co.in

Right now SBI’s online-banking service lets you only view balances and transactions in your accounts and download statements of accounts. But it is promising to come out with new services, such as fund transfers, stopping check payment, DD and checkbook request, and utility payments.

If you have savings/current account or Term Deposits with SBI in any of its select 11 branches mentioned on the site, you can download the registration form for online banking, print it, fill it up, and post it back. After verification, OnlineSBI will give you a username and a password, which you can use to browse the site. The site has an interesting free demo that gives you a feel of how online banking works. 

The website is well laid out, and navigating through its sections is easy. It’s conveniently divided into sections like Personal Banking, Rural Banking, and International Banking, so you can find what you are looking for quickly. It also has a search facility and a customer support page where you can post your queries. 

The bank was prompt in responding to our query, replying to us within two days.

The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation 

HSBC’s online banking facility is currently open only to
NRIs, who can view their balances and details of interest accrued and projections for a full financial year, tax deducted at source; make payments through drafts or cashier’s orders; create, renew, and view time deposits; transfer money between accounts within HSBC India, or make third-party payments; and pay credit-card bills. They can also give standard instructions for regular payments and create templates for future transfers, and view limits on overdraft enquiries. 

The bank’s website has a very extensive demo on online banking. According to this, to get an online account, you’ll have to apply for a PBN (Personal Banking Number) and PIN (Personal Identification Number) and fill in the online registration form. Unfortunately, the actual facility to let you register for Internet banking with HSBC online was under construction at the time we checked it out.

You’ll find a link to Internet banking in HSBC’s ‘NRI services’. But once you’re there, you’ll find plenty of well-organized information on online banking. Like with most banks we sent queries to,
HSBC, too, did not respond.

You can also download various forms for loans, opening accounts, and registering for ATM and phone banking from the site.

The bank’s website claims to offer 128-bit data encryption for security.

UTI BANK

UTI BANK

UTI Bank first started operations in 1994 and now has more than 82 branches, 11 extension counters and 17 service counters. 

The bank’s online banking services offered by the site include balance enquiry for savings, current, term deposits, and loan accounts; online transaction query (which includes viewing of the synopsis of last six transactions, personal account information, and request for checkbook), request for opening a term deposit account, and changing your password.

To avail the service, you have to download a form, just like all other online banking sites, fill it up, and send it back to them. The bank will then send you a username and password to access these services. 

UTI Bank’s online services site is secure and has been authenticated by VeriSign. The site has a very neat interface with pop-up menus making navigation very simple. It is divided into sections like Consumer Banking, Corporate banking, and Loans, so you can quickly jump to the section you want. It also has separate sections, which it calls ‘Zones’ for NRIs, students, senior citizens, and women. The site has a search facility to help you find specific things you are looking for.

Its query response time was pretty impressive, as we got a reply to our mail on the
same day. The site also offers online forms for opening accounts, credit-card applications, ATM cards, and Loans. It also has ATM, telebanking, and mobile-banking
facilities.

IDBI

IDBI

Although we couldn’t find any online banking services on IDBI’s website, we found a service called MoneyMobile. This is a WAP/SMS-enabled service, which allows you to bank from your cellphone. On their site they have a list of 10 major cities where they have started this service and a promise to launch it in the rest of the country by February 2001. If your cellphone is not WAP enabled you can use simple SMS to access this service. Right now this service allows you to do the following: Find out your balance, your last three transactions, status of a check payment, and request for a checkbook/statement. Soon it will also let you access information about your DEMAT account. As for security, all the WAP transactions are WAP-WTLS (Wireless Transport layered security) complaint. This means that all your WAP transactions are safe. The site explains in detail how to use your cellphone for this service, so getting started should not be a problem. To register for this service you have to either contact your nearest branch or drop them an e-mail at the specified address. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any response to an e-mail query that we sent them.

Juhi Bhambal, Pragya Madan, and Sachin Makhija

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