Max Investigates: The BDO Online Banking Experience

Published: May 10, 2018 | Updated: April 28, 2020 | Posted by: Moneymax | Credit Card

BDO Online Banking |

BDO, currently the largest bank in the Philippines, is the only bank in the country with branches in malls that are open after regular banking hours on weekdays and even on weekends. However, you’ll rarely see a BDO branch that isn’t packed with customers waiting in line.

People who are too busy and impatient to transact over the counter can turn to alternative channels such as BDO Online Banking[1]. This electronic banking facility enables customers to perform financial transactions without leaving their home or office.

Is using BDO Online Banking worth your time? Here’s a closer look at how this e-banking system works.

Note: This is the second in the series of articles by that explores and probes into the online banking experience provided by the leading banks in the Philippines.

BDO Online Banking Enrollment

BDO Online Banking - Enrollment |

Who Can Enroll?

If you have any of these BDO accounts (individual or joint OR accounts), you may register for BDO Online Banking:

  • Savings
  • Current
  • Time deposit
  • Prepaid card
  • Auto Loan, Home Loan, Personal Loan, or SME Loan
  • Trust account

How is the Online Enrollment Experience?

Enrollment involves filling out an application form at the BDO Online Banking site and activating the online account (using the BDO debit card) at any BDO ATM. The online banking account can be accessed 24 hours after the ATM activation.

Some BDO customers, however, aren’t happy with the slow process of enrolling an online account. Some BDO online registrations go pending for days or even weeks.

BDO Online Banking Services

BDO Online Banking - Services |
The BDO Online Banking site’s interface looks simple, but navigating it can be confusing and overwhelming. The complicated menu makes it quite hard to find the exact service you need.

For first-time users, it can take a while to get familiar and comfortable with the online banking system.

Tip: Use the My Quick Links feature to easily access the shortcuts (presented as icons) to your most frequently used BDO Online Banking services.

Notable BDO Online Banking Features

1. Send Money

BDO Online Banking - Send Money |
BDO provides funds transfer flexibility to its online banking customers. Using the BDO Online banking system, you can transfer money to another BDO account, an account with another local bank, or an email address/mobile number. Cash pickup and door-to-door delivery are also available.

Because of this, transacting online via BDO’s Send Money feature can easily confuse users. Choosing the type of funds transfer to use can be a challenge. For example, BDO makes a distinction between a pre-enrolled and an unenrolled BDO account as a money transfer recipient.

But once you’ve gotten the hang of it, sending cash online is just a cinch. You can transfer funds via BDO Online Banking in many ways:

  • Send Money to Pre-enrolled BDO Account – This requires enrolling your own or somebody else’s bank account within the online banking facility. BDO to BDO transfer fee is free.
  • Send Money to Any BDO Account – You can also send cash to a BDO account that isn’t enrolled in your online banking account. BDO charges PHP 10[2] on every fund transfer to an unenrolled BDO account.
  • Send Money to Contact (via Email or Mobile) – This is a very useful service if the recipient has no bank account.
  • Send Money from USD to Peso (Own BDO Account) – Transfer funds from your own BDO US Dollar account to Peso account.
  • USD Wire Transfer (to Local/Overseas Bank) – Request for funds transfer from your BDO US Dollar savings account to another account in a bank in the Philippines or abroad.
  • Send Money to Another Local Bank – Sending cash to an account with another bank in the Philippines comes with a PHP 100 service charge.
  • For Cash Pickup at Any BDO Branch/Partner –  Recipients with no bank accounts can pick up the money within just an hour from any BDO branch and partner outlets in the Philippines.
  • Door-to-Door – Send money to a recipient’s address in the Philippines.

2. Pay Bills and Reload

BDO Online Banking - Bills Payment |
Like other online banking platforms, BDO helps speed up bills payment and reloading for its customers through the following services:

  • Bills Payment – Aside from paying utility bills and merchants online, this feature enables you to add companies or billers to your Bill Rack. This makes paying bills faster because you don’t have to fill out the company/biller name and amount each time you pay bills online.
  • Prepaid Mobile Reload – Buy cellphone credits and schedule reloading for any Globe, Smart, TM, TNT, or Sun mobile number from PHP 40 to Php 1,000. You need to enroll the prepaid number for reloading online, but you don’t have to activate it via an ATM.
  • BDO Cash Card Reload – With BDO Online Banking, you can reload your BDO prepaid cards, schedule it, and check your reload status.

Online Banking Service Unavailability Issues

There’s no formal documentation of BDO Online Banking’s service interruptions, but social media posts of customers seem to indicate that they happen once or twice every month.

One of the most recent downtimes happened on a payday, which caused so much frustration among customers who couldn’t access their BDO Online Banking account to check their salary.

According to advisories and statements released by BDO, system downtimes happen because of connectivity issues or systems upgrade/maintenance.

BDO Online Banking Security Features

With the rampant online banking fraud affecting the country’s largest bank, what’s the guarantee that clients won’t lose their hard-earned money when using BDO Online Banking?

BDO employs better technologies and processes in place for its online banking platform compared to other major banks in the Philippines.

1. User Authentication

BDO Online Banking - OTP |
Logging into a BDO Online Banking account takes longer than that of other banks because of its security measures to verify a user’s identity.

In addition to entering a username and a password, users also have to key in a one-time password (OTP)[3]—which BDO sends via SMS to the registered mobile phone number—each time they log in.

BDO is the only bank in the Philippines that requires users to enter an OTP to access their online banking account and perform certain transactions such as funds transfer and prepaid phone reloading.

Alternatively, if you don’t have your phone with you, the BDO Online Banking account can still be accessed by choosing to answer your challenge question.

The OTP/Challenge Question may be quite a hassle, but it’s an extra layer of protection that ensures nobody else can access your BDO online account.

2. Website Encryption

Website encryption is another layer of security to protect BDO Online Banking accounts from unauthorized access. A 128-bit encryption[4], one of the most secure and unbreakable encryption methods, secures all financial transactions in the online banking system.

3. Automatic Log-out

If you forget to log out after your online banking session using a public or shared computer, the automatic log-out feature secures your BDO account. You’ll be logged out of the system once it detects inactivity for a certain number of minutes. This way, the next computer user won’t be able to access your BDO Online Banking account.

4. ATM Activation for Online Banking Enrollments

Enrollment for sensitive bank transactions such as online funds transfer and customer information update requires activation via a BDO ATM. That means you can start transferring funds to another BDO account or change your account information only after you’ve activated your enrollment.

5. Lock My ATM Debit Card

BDO Online Banking - Lock ATM |
When you lose your ATM or debit card, you can immediately prevent unauthorized transactions without having to go to a branch or call its hotline.

To date, this security feature is available only to ATM or debit cards. You can’t lock your lost or stolen credit card or prepaid card at the moment.

Just access BDO Online Banking and go to My Accounts > Lock My ATM Debit Card. In just a few clicks, you can lock your debit card so that anybody can’t use the lost card for ATM and POS transactions, as well as for online purchases and payments.

When you try to lock your card via BDO Online Banking, you’ll need to enter the OTP sent to your registered mobile number. If your cellphone is lost or stolen along with your card, you won’t complete the process.

While your physical card is locked, you can still transact via BDO Online Banking and Mobile Banking channels. You can unlock the card to make it active again once your card has been replaced.

Not all clients welcome this BDO online banking security feature, though. Some concerns are legitimate, like hackers being able to lock the owners out of their online account.

Reported Security Threat: Unauthorized Transactions

Complaints of customers experiencing unauthorized withdrawals and purchases[5] hounded BDO in the last quarter of 2017 up to early 2018. Some clients reportedly lost as much as PHP 50,000 to hackers.

Such loss is painful as it is, especially if you need money for an emergency. Worse, it takes 60 days for BDO to investigate an incident before you can recover the money if it gets resolved at all.

Such cases are nothing new to BDO customers. As early as 2012, for instance, an OFW became a victim of unauthorized withdrawals[6] of his hard-earned money. The loss reached PHP 50,000 because BDO allegedly refused the request to block the online transactions immediately.

Final Thoughts

Security threats to online banking in the country are increasing, according to a Trend Micro study. The Philippines is also one of the most affected by online banking fraud. Top banks like BDO aren’t spared.

BDO implements a lot of stringent online banking security measures. But with the recent incidents of unauthorized transactions and service disruptions, the challenge for the country’s largest bank is to further improve its systems for the protection of its customers’ accounts.

Of course, customers also have to do their share in ensuring online banking security. If you have an account with BDO, stay vigilant and cautious about your online behavior to avoid falling victim to online banking scams.

For the BPI online banking experience, check out our investigative piece. Stay tuned for the next articles in the Max Investigates series!

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