Max Investigates: The BPI Express Online Banking Experience

May 3, 2018


 

Max Investigates: The BPI Onine Banking Experience | MoneyMax.ph

As the third largest bank in the Philippines with more than eight million depositors, BPI serves a lot of clients during peak periods.
BPI clients who want to avoid the long lines at their branches and ATMs have an alternative: the BPI Express Online website. All BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank clients can access the online banking platform 24/7 and free of charge. To date, more than 1.4 million customers are active Express Online users.
What is the BPI online banking experience like? Is it worth using? Here’s a detailed look at the BPI Express Online to help you decide.

NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles by MoneyMax.ph that explore and probe deep into the online banking experience provided by the leading banks in the Philippines.

BPI Express Online Enrollment

BPI Online Banking Site | MoneyMax.ph

Who Can Enroll?

To open an Express Online account, you need to have a deposit account, credit card, or debit card with BPI or BPI Family Savings. You can only enroll your other BPI accounts such as loans, investments, or prepaid cards after your BPI online banking account activation.

Is It Easy to Register Online?

Signing up for BPI Express Online can be done in a jiffy. Just fill out the registration form on the BPI Express Online site and activate your enrollment at any BPI ATM. You can already access your Express Online account after just one banking day.

Any Issues with Enrolling in BPI Express Online?

BPI Online Banking - BPI Express Online Enrollment | MoneyMax.ph
Others would also receive an error message like “JAI/SEQ IS NOT VALID.” This shows up when you try to enroll using an ATM card that isn’t under your name.

BPI Express Online Banking Services

BPI Express Online is the one-stop shop for virtually all banking transactions of BPI accountholders—from balance inquiry, funds transfer, bills payment, and mobile phone reloading to setting an appointment with a BPI branch.
With its easy-to-use online banking system, BPI lives up to its “Let’s Make It Easy” tagline. First-time users will have only a little learning curve or none at all. For those who can’t figure out how to use the system properly, they can refer to BPI online banking video tutorials.

Notable BPI Online Banking Features

1. Funds Transfer

BPI Online Banking Funds Transfer | MoneyMax.ph
Sending money to another BPI account is done in real time and can be scheduled in advance. This is extremely convenient for online shoppers who want to pay for their purchases with their BPI deposit account and small business owners who regularly pay their suppliers.
Money can be transferred only to a BPI account, unlike in BDO Online Banking where you can transfer funds even to non-BDO accounts.
To transfer funds using the BPI online banking system, you’ll have to enroll each third-party account in person and on-site. Fill out the application form online and submit the printed and signed form to any BPI or BPI Family Savings branch. Alternatively, you can mail the form to the BPI’s main office in Makati.
This is where using the Funds Transfer service gets inconvenient. But it’s meant to protect an account against unauthorized fund transfers. It would be great if BPI could provide a balance between convenience and security in such online transactions.

2. Bills Payment

BPI Bills Payment | MoneyMax.ph
Another useful BPI online banking service, the Bills Payment facility allows you to pay your utility, insurance, and credit card bills without leaving your home or office. You can also schedule bills payment, so you won’t miss any due date.

3. Prepaid Cellphone Reload

Running out of mobile phone credits isn’t a problem when you have a BPI online banking account. You can quickly reload an amount ranging from PHP 50 to PHP 1,000 to your cellphone without having to go to an e-load station or your suking tindahan.
Note that the online cellphone reload service is available only to Globe and TM mobile numbers.

4. Setting Bank Appointments via BPI Express Assist (BEA) Online

Long queues and waiting times are probably the common pain points among BPI clients. Most transactions in a BPI branch are quick, but because of the long lines, it can take you 30 minutes to an hour to wait for your turn to the bank teller.
You can minimize your waiting time at the branch using the bank appointment service within BPI Express Online called BEA Online. It allows you to reserve a time slot in the nearest branch, submit your transactions, and get your queue number in advance. You’ll just have to come to the branch at your appointed schedule and complete your transactions.
Convenient as it may be, this online service is rather limited. It’s available only in select branches and for certain transactions: deposit, withdrawal, check encashment, and bills payment.

Log-in Problems

BPI Online Banking - Log-in Problems | MoneyMax.ph

No doubt, the services within the BPI online banking system are very useful and convenient. But a lot of customers can’t even log in when they need to transact online. Many took to social media to complain about the site crashing or getting an error message for each log-in.
These problems occur mostly because of the bank’s scheduled system maintenance or entering an incorrect username and/or password. Passwords are case-sensitive, so if you’ve typed a lowercase instead of an uppercase character, that would count as one wrong password entry.
Worse, an account will get locked after three consecutive unsuccessful attempts. When that happens, you’ll need to reset your password and activate in any BPI ATM.
To be fair, BPI responds to individual concerns, especially on Twitter. But BPI would always tell their customers to just restart their devices.

Transaction-Related Issues

1. Trouble viewing statement of account

BPI Online Banking - Statement of Account | MoneyMax.ph
The most common issue customers complain about is difficulty viewing their statement of account or transaction history on BPI Express Online. It could be challenging when, for instance, you need to monitor your credit card billing statement and check its due date.

2. Bills payment issue

BPI Online Banking - Bills Payment Issue | MoneyMax.ph
Although the bills payment-OTP problem (see tweet above) seems like an isolated case, it’s still worth noting because it’s an issue of convenience and safety.
Sending an OTP to a mobile number that isn’t the accountholder’s own would mean he couldn’t pay his bills to a merchant he couldn’t enroll online. Also, if someone else receives the OTP, that person could possibly have access to the true owner’s online banking account.

BPI Online Banking Access Problems

Having trouble with your Express Online access just when you need to do a critical banking transaction? You’re not alone.
BPI Online Banking - Access Problems | MoneyMax.ph
A lot of social media posts report about frequent slowdowns and downtimes of the BPI online banking system. It’s a difficult experience BPI customers have to bear from time to time. When BPI Express Online is down, customers are bound to miss their bills payment due dates and are unable to perform other critical financial transactions.
BPI Online Banking - Access Problems | MoneyMax.ph
These tech issues occur because BPI performs regular system maintenance (that lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour on weekdays) and occasional system updates, which it announces beforehand on its website and social media channels.
To avoid disappointment and hassle, do your online banking transactions before BPI’s maintenance schedule:

  • Monday to Friday, 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday to Friday, 4:00 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • First Sunday of the month, 3:00 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.

Also, follow BPI’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, so you’ll get updates when their online banking service will be unavailable due to systems updates or network problems.

Notable BPI Online Banking Security Features

BPI has an array of online banking security features. While it may not be as secure as those of other banks in the Philippines, BPI isn’t actually lax in securing Express Online accounts. There’s an effort to educate clients about safe online banking practices.
Here’s a quick rundown of the remarkable features that ensure a safe BPI online banking experience.

1. Password Protection

BPI Password Protection | MoneyMax.ph
BPI does a pretty good job preventing unauthorized access to Express Online accounts. Its strict password requirements discourage users from using weak, easy-to-guess passwords.
For example, the online banking system doesn’t allow reusing one of your previous three passwords. BPI also requires 6-12 alphanumeric characters for a password.
When your account is idle for 5 minutes, the system automatically logs you off to prevent someone else from getting access to it. To continue using Express Online, you’ll have to log in again with your username and password.
However, one critical security feature is missing. BPI Express Online lacks the one-time password (OTP) verification for the log-in process, something that BDO Online Banking already has. OTP is an additional layer of protection that verifies the identity of a person who tries to access an online banking account.

2. Pre-enrollment for Critical Transactions

Before you can enroll someone else’s BPI account for fund transfer via Express Online, you’ll have to go through a pre-enrollment procedure. That entails visiting a BPI branch to submit your accomplished and signed application form.
The hassle is worth it when you realize BPI is doing it for safety purposes. The bank has to make sure that the actual Express Online account owner is indeed nominating a third-party account for funds transfer, for instance, before allowing any fund transfer transaction online.
Imagine how unsafe it would be if people can enroll any BPI account for funds transfer online. A hacker who gains access to an online banking account can just easily transfer money to another bank account without the owner’s knowledge.

3. Log-in Email Notification

An extra security layer, this BPI online banking service sends you an email notification after every successful login to your account.
When activated, this email alert lets you know if someone else has accessed your Express Online account, so you can reset your password, report immediately to the bank, and prevent unauthorized financial transactions on it.

4. Email Confirmation Alert


For each completed transaction with your BPI Express Online account, you’ll receive an email confirmation. This feature is helpful for two reasons. First, it gives you peace of mind with the knowledge that your transaction has been successful. Second, if it’s an unauthorized transaction, you’ll know it right away and report it immediately to BPI to recover your money and prevent further loss.

5. ATM Withdrawal Alert

Through the BPI online banking facility, you can enable the ATM Withdrawal Alert feature to receive an email or SMS notification after each withdrawal (whether successful or not) from your account. You can also set the withdrawal amount (from PHP 5,000 to PHP 20,000) at which you’ll receive an alert.

Reported BPI Online Banking Security Threats

Despite the security features, BPI customers encounter suspicious emails and lose money to unauthorized withdrawals.

1. Email phishing and fake log-in site

BPI Online Banking - Security Threats | MoneyMax.ph
As a customer, it’s natural to worry if your bank is plagued with security issues like email phishing and other forms of online banking fraud. BPI is no stranger to that.
For now, the bank keeps warning customers about giving away their sensitive information to email phishers.

2. Unauthorized withdrawals

BPI Online Banking - Unauthorized Withdrawals | MoneyMax.ph
BPI Online Banking - Unauthorized Withdrawals | MoneyMax.ph
Remember the BPI banking glitch that caused unauthorized transactions and inconvenience to clients in June 2017? Several months had passed but still, some customers experience unauthorized withdrawals on their BPI online banking accounts.

Final Thoughts

Should you enroll in BPI online banking? If you’re a busy professional who hates wasting your time, you should definitely sign up for it. This will make managing your finances a lot easier and faster.
Although BPI Express Online still needs to improve security and convenience, users must also do their part. Learn how to make the most of its features to further save time on your banking transactions.
BPI online banking is only as safe as how customers use it and how they maximize its security features. Users of the online banking facility are just as responsible for its safety as well.

Stay tuned for the next articles in our Max Investigates series!

Credit Card Application | MoneyMax.ph