Citigroup and Microsoft have entered a partnership agreement to streamline customer access to the bank's Internet products using .NET technologies such as Passport and .NET Alerts.
Bank customers visiting Passport-enabled Citigroup sites will be automatically identified after signing in to Passport. Customers will then be authenticated by Citigroup using Citigroup passwords before being granted access to personal information or being able to conduct financial transactions. Customers will also be able to gain access to other Passport-enabled sites operated by Microsoft or third parties without having to enter any further user IDs or passwords.
The agreement also calls for Citigroup's existing suite of notification services currently available to its banking, credit card and brokerage customers, to be complemented by adding Microsoft's instant messaging-based .NET Alerts service. Users are notified of important events such as when a payment is due, when a credit limit has been reached or when a customer's statement is available. The .NET Alerts service sends messages to a user's desktop, cell phone, mobile device, or email address - all based on the user's preferences.
Citigroup currently has over 16 million online accounts worldwide, spanning banking, brokerage, credit cards and other services.
Citi Cards will be the first Citigroup business to offer its online users streamlined access using Passport. The credit card business will also become a preferred payments provider for Microsoft, including promotion in key areas of MSN.
Steven Freiberg, president and CEO of Citi Cards, says: "This partnership will allow us to acquire new customers, increase usage of Citi Cards for online purchases and support our existing customers better."