Citibank's "All-Electronic Program" Sends Paper Notice Stating Account Is Available To View Online

After enrolling in Citibank’s “All-Electronic Program,” FiveCentNickel was surprised to find the following notice in his mailbox:

Your Citibank statement is now available at http://www.citicards.com/. This notification is part of the All-Electronic Program you enrolled in to receive your statements online only instead of in the mail.

How counterintuitive. If Citi needs to send mail, why not send the account statement, rather than a notice that the statement is available online? Better yet, send neither. Or at least change the name to something more accurate, like the “Mostly, But Not Quite All-Electronic Program.” — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

CitiBank’s “All-Electronic” Program Sure Involves a lot of Paper [FiveCentNickel]
(Photo: josephp)

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  1. Steeb2er says:

    The same thing happened with my college three years ago … they sent a letter in the mail stating that due to rising postage costs, grade reports wouldn’t be sent through the mail, and would only be available online.

    And they sent the exact same letter at the end of every semester.

    That’s what happens when you go to a liberal arts college.

  2. glomm says:

    If they are paying for postage by the ounce, which I am sure they are, it costs them several cents less to send one page rather than an entire statement

  3. JDAC says:

    I signed up with BTs Paper Free Billing to get a whole 50p discount on my bill.

    I’m still getting paper bills and the discount…

  4. ribex says:

    I saw this in my feed reader and thought I was looking at The Onion!

    This comment will be followed up by a copy in the mail and a second notice confirming that the first notice was mailed.

  5. rogerdude says:

    Before lambasting a company please look into what is actually going on. This is a well implemented one-time security notification of changes to your account.

    I too have signed up for the online only Citibank statements. They send this paper notice the first month’s statement only, and include it with some non-monthly communications like changes to terms. Consider it a last chance for a paper only customer like my grandmother to realize that somebody has hijacked their account via the web, rather than just having the bills never show up again.

    So rather than some ‘counterintuitive’ malarky, this is an extra step on their part to help protect your finances and Consumerist should be congratulating CitiBank rather than attempting to get a quick pithy post out of it.

  6. deweydecimated says:

    hmmm, and yet when i had a charge on a rarely-used citibank card, we got no paper or email notifications on our all-electronic account until we finally got a paper notice saying we were 3 bill cycles overdue! (and yes, i disputed it, and yes, i won. tra la.)

  7. facted says:

    @rogerdude: Agreed. After the one time notice, you only get e-mail notification that your statement is available and no more paper.

  8. Joel Risberg says:

    SallieMae (student loans) sent us not one but two paper notifications every month that our online bill statement was available — one in my name and one in my wife’s name. The mailings seem to have finally stopped recently, but it went on for years.

  9. catnapped says:

    @facted: Sorry…you two are wrong–I’m still getting those “Your statement is ready” notices years after I’d signed up for email only statements.

  10. facted says:

    @catnapped: You should call them and find out what’s going on, because I def. don’t get statements in the mail (and I only get them via e-mail).

  11. faust1200 says:

    Yes without idiotproofing, I mean sending the paper notice probable stories would have read “Customer earns finance charge because they didn’t realize they were on e-bill.”

  12. doug-pirahna says:

    I do see the security reason for sending a paper statement to confirm that yes, you don’t want paper statements any more, but sometimes, you have to wonder.

    I got my satellite TV bill in the mail this week, and with the bill was a full page flyer from the provider encouraging me to use paperless billing because it saves trees.

    Sigh.

  13. Uh, no. It’s not a one time thing. As I said in the original post that Consumerist linked, they’ve been doing this on an ongoing basis.

  14. krunk4ever says:

    @rogerdude: I was going to post the exact thing. I’ve signed up with Citi Paper Statement only and have never received another mail except for privacy notifications and policy changes.

    I believe they may be required by law in case your account got hacked to notify you that you’ve opted for this.

  15. ShadowFalls says:

    If you are viewing your account online, I think an email is all that is needed to notify you of your statement. When I signed up for paperless statements, I was never sent a single letter saying so. They did send me an email though. This was Chase by the way.

  16. sifr says:

    “Before lambasting a company please look into what is actually going on. This is a well implemented one-time security notification of changes to your account.


    Er, no. I also signed up for paperless billing, and I get a paper notice in the postal mail EVERY SINGLE MONTH, telling me my statement is ready to be viewed online.

    Maybe it’s not paper; maybe it’s baby seal skin the notices are printed on.

    Whatever it is, it’s annoying, it’s idiotic, and it should stop.

  17. Geoffrie says:

    As somebody who works for another major financial institution I have the unique perspective of working on a project similar to this where we are transitioning customers from one electronic statement system to another. A paper notification is going out to our customers as part of a final effort to reach those customers who may not check their electronic statements on a regular basis. Federal regulations governing financial institutions are pretty stiff, and notification in change of service is a mandatory item. As a result we must make every effort to ensure that all customers who may be impacted by the change receive notification, whether through online or paper notification.

  18. facted says:

    @sifr: I agree that it should stop…have you tried calling them and asking them to stop the letters?

  19. codegrl says:

    There is usually a setting in your account to not send any paper statements and email you notifications when your monthly statements are ready, and then there is a setting to send only electronic statements, but send you a written notice in the mail when your statements are ready. Lack of reading probably led to many selecting the US Mail option.

    I don’t know if this applies to Citi, but it applies to many of my electronic statements. And if 90% of the people I interact with is any compass…people don’t read for crap. Scanners, the whole lot of ‘em! :-)

  20. TexasBelle says:

    I had the same problem with Citibank for a year or so before I figured out that, occasionally, for reasons that are unclear, their system was deciding on its own that my e-mail address was no good. Invalid e-mail address means they have to send snail mail. So, periodically, I simply have to log on and change my e-mail address (I usually just go back and forth between two addresses I regularly use) and I stop getting the paper notices for awhile.

  21. Baz says:

    I think this is for fraud prevention purposes – in case a customer’s email address had been compromised and they did not in fact make the request to go paperless. Also – banks tend to mail notification of any account changes, etc. — maybe it’s a law, or at least provides the bank some legal protection?

  22. tinychicken says:

    I went to the Lilac Festival in lovely Rochester, NY yesterday. In the plant selling tent area thing they had a stack of large Arbor Day posters (no recycled paper either, I checked). The lady working the table failed to see the irony.

  23. ItMakesMeWonder says:

    I am an employee of Citi Cards – and I actually work in the eServices/Technical Support department that handles the issue you’re referring to.

    The notification that you received means that when we sent the notification to your email address, it was rejected by your email provider. Usually this means either an incorrect email address OR your email provider thinks that it’s spam and rejected it back to us with their spam guards. Easiest way to avoid that (if this is a regular Citi Mastercard/Visa) is to add cards@info.citicards.com into your address book or spam filter.