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E- Commerce 11


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  1. Structure

  2. Features

  3. Platforms

  4. Discussion

  5. Conclusion


E-commerce is a business model that uses electronic services to buy andsell goods and services. The platform uses electronic means oftransaction such as the internet. E- commerce uses technologies suchas mobile networks, electronic money transfers, and onlinetransaction processing (MinnesotaContinuing Legal Education 2000).E- commerce is the sales part of electronic business and it usesdifferent platforms, that touch on the use of the internet in mostcases. One of the most recent uses of e- commerce is online banking,which allows customers to conduct different banking transactions overthe internet (MinnesotaContinuing Legal Education 2000).The use of the online banking platform has gained ground over theyears and customers can conduct most of their banking transactionsonline. This discussion shall assess the use of online banking byCitibank, which is one of the pioneers of online banking, and becauseonline banking is one of the latest features of modern banking.

  1. Structure

TheCitibank online banking platform provides the following financialservices viewing account balances. Accessing bank statements,ordering new cheque books, accessing account statements, downloadingm- banking applications, fund transfers, application for loans, loanrepayments, paying bills, and investment sales (Mennecke&amp Strader 2002).These facilities allow customers to manage their accounts onlinewithout having to visit the banks (Klein&amp Mayer 2011).The most recent use of online banking is the mobile banking facilitythat allows customers to make payment, make deposits, and accesstheir money through their mobile phones (SCNEducation 2001).This service allows customers to access their accounts without usingthe internet.

  1. Features

Thecentral feature of online banking by Citibank is the ability bycustomers to access information regarding their accounts online. Theability to access this information makes banking convenient forcustomers as they can conduct their banking services via theinternet. The online banking features cover most of the bankingservices offered by the bank and this is important for the bank asits customers have access to banking facilities at all times. Thefeatures are divided into transactional and non- transactional. Thenon- transactional were the first services that were offered on theonline banking platform. These allowed the customers to accessinformation regarding their accounts. The growth of the onlineplatform has now encompassed transactional services that allowcustomers to transact business online, through their bank accounts.The latest addition is the use of mobile banking to carry outtransactions.

  1. Platforms

Citibankhas two main online banking platforms. These are internet banking andmobile banking. The two platforms use the internet at some point andthis is why they are known as online banking. The use of mobilebanking is a fairly new e- commerce service that is used by variousbanks to allow customers to carry out their transactions throughtheir mobile phones, even without access to the internet. The two e-commerce platforms make banking convenient and enhance customersatisfaction with the banking services. The use of e- commerce hasalso helped the bank to reduce its costs as customers do not need togo to the bank to conduct their business (Rosen2000).The mobile phone platform has also ensured that those who cannotaccess the internet can still conduct their banking activities andthis ensures that all customers are served.

  1. Discussion

Citibank’se- commerce is well developed and most of its services are availableto customers through electronic means. Transactional services aremost common among customers as most customers prefer to conduct theirbanking services conveniently. The use of the online platform to paybills is the most common transactional service use. The structure ofthe payment of bills is connected to the companies that are commonlyused for utility bills. This structure is well developed and it isavailable via Citibank’s website, which has provision for onlinebanking (Stewart2002).The payment of bills is also available through mobile banking, whichhas a feature for payment and money transfers. The process for usingmobile services to pay bills is well elaborated on the bank’swebsite so as to improve the use of mobile money.

Thebank also allows customers to pay and access loans via onlinebanking. Customers can apply for and repay their loans via theinternet. The bank validates the loan history of the person applyingand it either disburses or denies the loan. The ability to accessloan facilities on the online platform makes banking easier and easesthe process of validating the loan application of the customer. Theinformation is available online and the bank just feeds theinformation to its database, which makes it easy as there is no needof feeding the information to the system for validation (Rosen2000).This process makes the process of processing a customer’s loan fastand easy.

Thebank also uses an online platform to advertise and introduce newservices to its customers. The ability to advertise online reducesrevenues used by the bank for advertisement and reaches the targetcustomers (Fox,Pew Internet &amp American Life Project 2002).Every time the bank introduces a new service, it features it on itswebsite. The bank saves revenues for advertisement of new services asadvertisements are available immediately a customer visits thewebsite. The bank thus does not have to go to other media platformsfor advertisement services (Stewart2002).

Thebank’s online facility protects the ability of the user to accesstransactional activities on the online platform. Citibank requiresits customers to register for them to use the online platform forservices. This enhances security of access as third parties cannotaccess a customer’s account without a unique user name andpassword. This security feature protects customers from fraudstersand also gives them the liberty to decide whether they wish to usethe online platform for any access to the bank’s services (Laudon&amp Traver 2002).Some customers may not be open to the idea of online banking and itis important to ensure that they have a say about the ability to usethe platform.

Themobile banking platform has also helped to ease the process ofbanking for its customers. One feature is the access of informationabout the location of ATM machines. The mobile banking facilityallows customers to make enquiries about the location of convenientATM machines. One of the benefits of e- commerce is its ability toease the process of doing business. The ability to access informationregarding the convenience of ATMs is important in easing the processof conducting business as it saves customers the trouble of trying tolocate a machine (Datamonitor2000).This service is helpful to customers who have internet access andhave no access to the internet thus, catering for all of the bank’scustomers.

Anaddition of Citibank’s ATM banking is the ability to conduct morebusiness than just cash withdrawal and account statement. The ATMplatform has been linked to electronic banking where the customer canconduct other activities such a paying bills and global moneytransfer (Datamonitor2000).The bank’s structure allows it to connect to other companies thatoffer different services to clients. A customer can, therefore, usethe bank’s ATMs to pay for bills of other companies conveniently(Datamonitor2000).The payment process is done online as the utility service companieshave business arrangements that allow them to connect to the bankonline. The payment of the bill online has been made possible by theuse of electronic transfers that allow the bank to connect to othercompanies and ease the customer’s process of doing business.

Theonline platform provides customers with the ability to manage theiraccounts, which enable customers to monitor their accounts. The riseof banking fraud has necessitated a constant monitoring of one’saccount so as to detect fraud. The use of e- commerce has eased theability by customers to monitor their account activities through theonline banking platform (Laudon&amp Traver 2002).Customers can monitor their account activities without going to thebank. This has been useful to customers who may not have the abilityto visit their banks physically so as to monitor account activities.This has reduced banking fraud through close monitoring of accountactivities conveniently.

Citibank’swebsite allows customers to download mobile banking applications ontheir mobile phones for use to access banking facilities. Theseapplications are customized to cover the bank’s features andservices for its customers (Mennecke&amp Strader 2002).The customized applications make it easy for the bank to communicateto its customers as it can update the applications based its needsand services. The customers thus have real time access to variousbanking services via a mobile application platform. The customizationof the application eases the use of the service for customers as itis tailored to meet the need of customers conveniently.

Citibankhas also used the e- commerce platform to ease services for itscustomers. For example, an application for account statements used totake some time to process. However, with the online banking platform,customers can request and access their account statements fast. Thisreduces the time for doing business and also saves the bank’sresources (Tan&amp Teo 2000).Customers can also access their statement conveniently at any timeand, which improves customer satisfaction and allows customers toconduct their businesses fast and conveniently. Customers have accessto account information from anywhere and this is especially helpfulto business people who may have to conduct business outside businesshours (Smith&amp Walter 2003).

Additionally,customers can make enquiries using the online platform and have theirbanking problems handled quickly. The online banking platform hasenhanced customer service and this has been helpful for the bank asit serves its customers efficiently. One of the benefits of e-commerce is the ability to serve customers fast and conveniently(Stiglitz2002).Customers’ problems are handled quickly and this eases businessactivities for both the bank and the customers. The customer supportplatform is available via the bank’s website at any time and anyconcerns raised are handled quickly.

Anew feature of the bank’s online banking platform is the use ofsocial media. The bank has facebook and twitter accounts throughwhich it interacts with its customers (Gup2003).The two platforms have also created platforms for which customer-problems are handled and any new communication of services offered isadvertised and both customers and non- customers can access them. Thesocial media has been a significant e- commerce platform used bycompanies to interact with their customers and potential customers(Apte&amp Karmarkar 2007).Citibank’s social media platform is managed on a twenty four hourbasis and this means that there is constant customer interactionbetween the bank and its customers.

Citibank’swebsite is also a resource centre for its customers as customers andinvestors have access to the bank’s information at all times. Thewebsite has information regarding various services and businessinformation, which is beneficial to the bank’s customers andinvestors (Rapp2000).The process of investment in modern times occurs in real time.Businesses ought to, therefore, have their business informationavailable at all times. This is part of the bank’s e- commercefacility as customers and investors do not have to visit the bankphysically so as to access its financial information (Apte&amp Karmarkar 2007).In addition to this, the bank allows customers to transact theirshares real time through its website. This improves convenience forcustomers and thus, improves the bank’s business.

Inconclusion, e- commerce is the ability to transact businessactivities using electronic platforms by using the internet. E-commerce has eased the process of doing business and most companiesnow use the facility to conduct business. Online banking is one ofthe modern features of the banking industry. Citibank is a leadinguser of the online banking facility and its structure allowscustomers to carry out various banking services online. The bank hasalso introduced mobile banking, which enables customers to transactbusiness with no internet access. Citibank has two main e- commerceplatforms and they are internet banking and mobile banking. Theplatform has eased the process of doing business for the bank’scustomers, which is the purpose of e- commerce.


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