Applicants for a new credit card can find out within minutes if they’re qualified to get one with the launch of Citi Philippines’ online application and approval process.
Consumers who wish to apply for a Citi credit card may get “conditionally” approved immediately after accomplishing a five-page digital application form. The usual requirements, such as IDs and proof of employment, may be uploaded online. This makes the process much faster than how it is typically done offline.
“You just have to wait for around five to seven days for the verification of some of the documents sent, then you’ll get your credit card,” said David Stoughton, Citi Philippines' Director for Credit Payment Products.
“The digital platform is not here to replace the physical branches but supplementing it better,” he added. “We want customers to know there are easier ways to get things done.”
While other banking institutions have provided a similar service, Stoughton said these applications were encoded in the backend, too, which isn’t the case with Citi’s digitized processes.
However, Aneth Ng-Lim, Citi Philippines Director for Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship, said this doesn’t mean the institution has become more lenient in terms of credit card approval.
“I wouldn’t use the term lenient,” she said. “Probably efficient. The existence of our bureau of credit makes us decide faster whether to approve an applicant or not.”
David Stoughton, Citi Philippines' Director for Credit Payment Products, explains the bank's new online credit card application system
Stoughton echoed the sentiment as customers who have pre-existing accounts with other banking institutions have better chances of getting approved as their consumer spending history would help Citi profile a potential customer better.
Citi Philippines said credit card agents and physical outlets are still the biggest source of new applications. In fact, “less than one out of 10 new customers in the Philippines were attracted through Citi’s online channels.” However, Stoughton hopes to change this over time.
The bank and other financial institutions like it still have a lot of potential customers to tap. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 86 percent of households don’t have bank deposit accounts, while 98 percent still don’t have credit cards.
The growth in credit card loans has been rather sluggish in the past decade amid the surge in other types of consumer loans. Between 2008 and 2016, housing loans more than tripled to Php506 billion and auto loans grew four-fold to Php364.4 billion. In contrast, credit card loans only just about doubled Php229.3 billion, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data cited by BusinessWorld.
Credit card loans, however, remain at Php229.3 billion, rising just nine percent from the previous year.
“I think that’s a good sign for the economy,” Stoughton said. “We’ve always focused on growth, so we want to attract as much customers as possible.”
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz