Citizens Bank Internet banking: edited or deleted transactions can be lost withour recourse

By | January 19, 2008

Just sent this letter to Citizens Bank. Not holding my breath for any sort of meaningful response, but what the heck…

Dana Drago
Vice Chairman, Retail and Business Banking
Citizens Bank
One Citizens Plaza
Providence, RI 02903

Dear Ms. Drago,

I am writing to bring to your attention a serious deficiency in Citizens Bank’s Internet banking application.

For your information, I have been a Citizens Bank account-holder for a number of years. My checking account, home equity loan and home equity line of credit are all held by Citizens Bank. I am a “Circle Gold” account-holder.

When a payment or transfer is entered into your Internet banking application, a confirmation number is issued. According to your on-line documentation, “This identifying number should be used if you have questions regarding a transfer.” I assume that this number may also be used to prove that a transaction was entered, in case it is somehow lost by the application after the customer entered it.

Unfortunately, the confirmation number issued when a transaction is entered is not subsequently displayed on the screens which display pending transactions. This is a relatively minor problem.

A bigger problem is that when a customer edits or deletes a pending transaction, not only is the original confirmation number not displayed, but no new confirmation number is issued.

This means that if a customer edits or deletes a transaction through your Internet banking application, and that change is lost or processed improperly by the bank, there is absolutely no way for the customer to prove that he or she made the change.

Since your Internet banking application issues neither paper receipts (obviously) nor even email receipts for transactions created or modified through the application, I hope you will agree that it is critical to customer confidence that every action performed within the application has associated with it a confirmation number that the customer can record and provide to the bank later should there be any issues.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Jonathan Kamens

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4 thoughts on “Citizens Bank Internet banking: edited or deleted transactions can be lost withour recourse

  1. Erndawg

    This is what happened to me for using Citizens bank. I had enough money in my accoung and 3 debits went through although I made a mistake in my calculations and I was off $2.15. They went and charged me 3 overdraft fees. and i’m like what there was enough money to take care of 2 of the checks that went through and I should of only have gotten 1 overdraft fee. but you do you know what they actually do. They just take the totals of checks and debits for the day and subtract it from your account and if you don’t have enough money they charge you overdraft fees pre transactions for that day. they really know how to screw citizens don’t they. any normal bank should of taken the money out and then on the 3rd transaction there wasn’t enough money then they should of ran an overdraft. I SAY [bleep] CITIZENS BANK.

    1. jik Post author

      Sorry, but as much as I hate Citizens Bank and think they look for every opportunity to screw the consumer, I have little sympathy for you.

      Due to the recent changes in federal overdraft regulations for debit transactions, the only way you could have been charged any overdraft fees at all is if you had recently explicitly agreed to allow the bank to charge them to you. If you don’t want to pay any overdraft fees, tell the bank that if you don’t have enough money in your account, you want your transaction to fail, not result in an overdraft.

      Better yet, don’t use a debit card at all. Debit cards benefit no one except the banks. They are an incredibly consumer-unfriendly product. Get yourself a credit card, use that instead, and pay it off in full at the end of every month. You can get a credit card that gives you back cash or points and benefit even further as a result.

      Note that you can overdraft your account even if you don’t do enough debit transactions to go below $0. Some debit transactions (e.g., gas stations) put a temporary hold on your account in addition to the temporary transaction. That hold doesn’t go away for several days, and it reduces your available balance. This is another reason why debit cards are an incredibly bad idea.

      If you don’t think you can exercise enough self-control to not overspend with a credit card, then either tell the bank to stop allowing overdrafts on debit transactions as described above, or get yourself a prepaid debit card that won’t let you spend more than you put into it.

  2. Igor

    Banking Nightmares, Citizens Bank = BAD

    I have been using Citizens Bank for the last 10years, have several accounts and home equity loans and I have had huge share of problems with them. They closed my account on April 2 and next day charged me $74 overdraft wee. This bank so greedy that can not respect they long term customers. Kate Smith, customer service supervisor completely unprofessional and she did not know how to treat good and loyal customer. She is working for North Caroline customer center. her manager is Paula Hnanan. Too bad for bank that will lost all my business and hope jobs for people like Kate Smith

  3. jik Post author

    Got back this answer a little over a month ago:

    January 31, 2008

    Dear Mr. Kamens,

    I am writing in response to your letter addressed to Ms. Dana Drago, Vice Chairman of Retail and Business Banking regarding our Online Banking product and the matter related to the confirmation number not showing within the application after you have completed your task.

    I’ve had an opportunity to review the two issues you mentioned in your letter and I agree that a better customer experience is warranted in this process. Our existing procedure provides customer recourse only through our Servicing Team. We understand that putting the burden on the customer to save a confirmation number outside of the Online Banking application is not the most effective customer experience.

    I am happy to share that we are diligently working on several major enhancements to our Online Banking application. One of the new features is the ability to view confirmation numbers and track the status of the associated transaction in future Online Banking sessions. If a scheduled transaction is cancelled [sic] or modified for any reason, it will maintain the confirmation number and the status of the transaction will clearly show online that it has been altered. I believe this will address the concern you raised to provide clear status of a transaction.

    Online Banking is a convenient and secure way for our customers to access and manage their finances online and we are committed to making the customer experience best in class. Mr. Kamens, you are a valuable customer of the bank and we greatly appreciate your feedback on this matter. It is feedback like yours that will help us meet our customer’s [sic] needs and deliver exceptional service.


    Glenn Morin, Senior Vice President
    Online Banking

    cc: Ms. Dana Drago, Vice Chairman

    I sent back the following:

    February 6, 2008

    Dear Mr. Morin,

    Thank you very much for your letter dated January 31. I appreciate your responsiveness to my concerns.

    I am pleased to hear your description of the upcoming improvements to your on-line banking application. While they do partially address my concerns, I’m afraid they are not sufficient.

    If I enter a transaction into your application, and then later change it, I need to have some way of proving I made that change. This is necessary both to protect me against the possibility that the change gets lost by the application, and to be able to refer to the change later if necessary when dealing with the bank.

    The improvements you described do not address this problem. Even with those improvements, you will still not be issuing new confirmation numbers for transaction changes. Without that additional step, the application continues to suffer from the deficiencies I described in my last letter.


    Jonathan Kamens

    It has been over a month since I sent the response shown above, and I haven’t heard anything back.


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