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ICICI and HDFC Netbanking services: A review and comparison

Posted by Anshuman Johri in Reviews on Aug 21st, 2008 | 38 Comments I don¶t get surprised anymore when my office colleagues tell me that they don¶t know where their salary account bank branch is located in their city. It¶s because banks today provide decent online banking services allowing you to forget the need-to-plan-a-visit-to-my-bank. So how good are these services and how far are we from a truly branch-less banking experience in India? Woikr reviews and compares for you two of the most frequently used internet banking services available by Indian banks: ICICI Netbanking and HDFC Netbanking. After State Bank of India, which is unarguably the most widely used bank in India, both ICICI and HDFC banks are amongst the top Indian banks in terms of customer base, infrastructure and facilities provided and both have fairly succeeded in providing powerful Netbanking services. The common do-it-from-home facilities that both these Netbankings provide to their customers are:
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Viewing of Account summary, current balance, all historic transactions, mini and detailed statements. Linking of your multiple accounts like Savings, Current, Credit cards, Demat, Mutual funds and Fixed deposit accounts to a single Netbanking ID. Transfer of funds (more on this in subsequent section) Requesting a new demand draft or cheque book at your address. Online payment of utility bills like Electricity, Gas, Landline and Mobile phone bills, Insurance premiums, Credit card bills, etc. Applying for new Fixed Deposits online. Download of Account statements in Text, Excel and MS Money formats. Online request for a hard copy of your bank statements at your address. ICICI charges INR 50 whereas HDFC charges INR 30 per statement request. Viewing status of deposited cheques or stopping the payment of a cheque. Both use High-grade Encryptions for secure login and transactions. ICICI uses RC4 128 bit whereas HDFC uses AES-256 256 bit. Both have recently enabled Virtual Keyboard logins to stop any software from recording your passwords when you type them. Virtual keyboard asks you to choose the password letters by a mouse.

As a regular user of both these Netbanking facilities since last 3 years, I can say that the above services really do save me the bother of standing in queues at a local branch. So far so good. Now the what¶s-missing-by-whom part! A closer look reveals that both these vary significantly and that ICICI Netbanking is better than HDFC Netbanking by leaps and bounds in terms of facilities.

Here is a comparison of their services feature-by-feature: Transfer of Funds: This is a major difference. Hence. You can as well toggle on/off the Insta-alerts for one or more services. is there anything which is offered by HDFC Netbanking and not by ICICI Netbanking? Believe me. The facility to transfer funds to yours or someone else¶s account. this becomes possible only on visiting the bank branch. Moreover. you can configure the threshold amounts above which you need an alert for. in case for HDFC. here are some unique services that HDFC offers but ICICI doesn¶t: y HDFC offers TDS Enquiry facility by which you can instantly check how much TDS (Tax Deduction at Source) was applicable on your current and previous taxable years. I had to look hard to find this and. gladly. user experiences say that the application is not processed promptly if you deposit the activation form at an ATM. and may cause further delays upto weeks. comes readily with the ICICI Netbanking subscription.g. ICICI Netbanking¶s Funds Transfer facility is much more hassle-free as compared to HDFC¶s Third Party Transfer (TPT) facility. say if you don¶t want to receive the alerts for fund credits and need them only for debits. this looks offthe-road to me. The problem arises not in using the service but in applying to the service. Other way round: So. For certain accounts like the Recurring Deposits. the request gets completed without the need for you to visit the bank. HDFC doesn¶t agree to this simplicity and requires you to apply to this service by filling up a hard copy of the Third Party Transfer Application Form and submitting it to any of their Bank branches or ATM. eh? Bravo ICICI More Limitations: HDFC Netbanking is also lagging behind as it doesn¶t allow: y y Premature liquidation of your Fixed Deposit De-registration of Bill Pay facility whereas these are enabled by ICICI Netbanking. On the other hand. . For e. ICICI Netbanking also offers online self-compounding accounts like Recurring Deposits and Money Multiplier Account that HDFC Netbanking doesn¶t. Cool. Now when we are striving for branch-less banking. However. at intra or inter-bank branch. That is. and also specify whether you need the alert by an SMS or email. it is preferred to walk into the HDFC bank and talk to the representative for activation (walking is good for health seems to be HDFC¶s hidden motto here!) Applying for new Accounts: You can initiate the opening of a variety of accounts online through ICICI Netbanking by submitting an online request with the details. the facility is ready to use and you just need to add-in the new beneficiary for making the first transfer. Insta-Alerts Customisation:Though both ICICI and HDFC Netbanking offers the facility of receiving message ³Alerts´ on your mobile to notify transactions. ICICI offers online customisation of the alerts upto the minutest details. and the newly created account is accessible at your next login upon approval.

whereas HDFC Netbanking. ends up overwhelming the user with its plethora of options. However in case of ICICI. It requires some practice by a naïve user to master the usage of all the options available on ICICI Netbanking. (Gosh ICICI« you need to be fast and prompt here!) The User Interface and Ease-to-use: The million dollar question! Who offers a better and more user friendly interface? Well. is intuitive to use from Day 1. However. what use is it if HDFC doesn¶t offer as many services as ICICI Netbanking does? (HDFC Netbanking main screen preview.y HDFC also allows re-generation of your IPIN (password) online in case you have forgotten it. HDFC Netbanking has a slightly simpler and user-friendly interface as compared to ICICI. with its lesser options. . though quite appealing aesthetically. Click on image for full-size screenshot) The ICICI Netbanking interface on the other hand. you need to call up the customer care to request a new Netbanking password and it will be delivered to you (by post!) in about 5 working days.

ICICI Netbanking is constantly upgrading and is offering more and more to their customers every few months. and seems to work hard to retain and grow its customer base. The Debit cards have a table of 16 numbers at the back. be prepared to explain the delay to him! Site Upgrade: Though HDFC Netbanking appears stagnant to me with minimal new offerings. and the online user is asked to enter 3 random numbers from this grid before the funds transfer can complete. And am sure that if HDFC starts offering everything that ICICI does. that¶s not the case and candid facts and user-experience are speaking . the HDFC Netbanking designers and developers will be seen asking for a big salary raise! Bill-Pay Charges: The Bill Pay facility is offered free of cost by ICICI Netbanking. Cons: You must possess your debit card at all times for transferring funds (or remember the sequence of the 16 two-digit numbers by heart ± not everyone¶s cup of tea!). Bank@Home and Receive Funds. whereas HDFC charges INR 25 per quarter for Bill Pay. but still why should you pay when another is providing the service for free?) Security process: The ICICI debit cards now comes with a ³Grid´ feature for increased online transaction security. Click on image for full-size screenshot) Having said this. do I sound like someone who has been paid handsomely to promote ICICI Netbanking? Believe me. (Yes. I know it¶s a meager amount.(ICICI Netbanking main screen preview. I would still prefer to use ICICI Netbanking anytime as it allows me to do any banking action that I can think of. So if you need to make an urgent transaction to a friend¶s account and are not carrying the card in your wallet. It currently offers new services like smsNCash. Rating: So. y y Pros: This additional process results in increased security.

Taking these into consideration these. the woikr rating for these Netbankings is as follows: ICICI Netbanking y y y y y Graphical Interface: 4/5 User-friendliness: 3/5 Facilities and Services offered: 4.5/5 Upgradation: 4/5 Closer to Branch-less Banking: 4.5/5 .5/5 HDFC Netbanking y y y y y Graphical Interface: 3.5/5 User-friendliness: 4/5 Facilities and Services offered: 3/5 Upgradation: 3/5 Closer to Branch-less Banking: 3.for themselves.