Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BPI Corporate Internet Banking Facility

I opened a corporate account with BPI for use with Dragonpay. BPI's corporate Internet banking access is called BPI Express Link (www.bpiexpresslink.com), as opposed to, their consumer Internet banking service called BPI Express Online (www.bpiexpressonline.com).

To avail of Expresslink, BPI used to require their corporate clients to maintain an average daily balance of P500k. This is really steep considering the other big banks like BDO and Metrobank give it for free with any corporate checking/savings account at minimum balance. But I think BPI has recently softened up a bit and has lowered it to P250k. I was able to get read-only/inquiry access by maintaining a P100k minimum ADB.

BPI Expresslink is one of the barest corporate Internet banking I've ever seen. I can't imagine why anyone would charge P100k for this, much more P500k. Metrobankdirect Corporate Banking is a whole lot more sophisticated and better looking. BDO Corporate Internet Banking is, well, functional. Its not pretty, but it works. :P

BPI Expresslink is very specific to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Since I've been using Google Chrome predominantly for months now, there are some features that do not work well with me:
  1. The top main menu bar is not visible with Chrome. You only see this thin red line. I thought it was just a separator bar. Turns out that its supposed to be the main menu bar when viewed in IE. It holds the "Logout" button. So for the first few days when I was just using Chrome, I thought there was no way to logout the system.
  2. When viewing the account statement, Expresslink dumps some sort of fixed-length text file with beginning and ending tags which you have to figure out how to decrypt. At first, I thought you needed to download some special program just to make heads and tails of what it is supposed to show. As it turns out, if you use IE, it renders properly. I suppose it must be using some IE-specific Javascript or XML transform to render it on-screen.
Expresslink also has the strangest way of displaying the running balance. Whereas the conventional way is to display it like a passbook line entry wherein the latest entry appears at the last and shows the transaction amount and the ending running balance, Expresslink displays your daily transaction in reverse chronological order (from newest to oldest), and recomputes the running balance starting from newest transaction of the day to the oldest. So the ending balance is not with the latest transaction, but with the first. Very illogical.

But because the site is so bare, I have to admit that its quite spiffy. Unlike RCBC AccessOne or Unionbank's Internet banking which is very sluggish, Expresslink responds very quickly with not much bells and whistles.

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