BPI smartphone mobile app: iOS update problem?

James Ryan Jonas

When the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) became the very first local bank to launch a smartphone mobile app, I was elated because finally our banks are catching up with technology. With the growing number of smartphone users and increasing adoption of online banking among Filipinos, I knew banking via mobile app is the next way to go.

I downloaded BPI’s iOS app a few months ago and installed it on my iPad. Once in a while, I use it to login to my BPIExpressOnline account to track my deposit balances. I still have not used it, though, for any other transactions, like funds transfer, bills payment, or cellphone reloading, and last week I wanted to try the app for such transactions so I can write a review about them here.

But to my surprise and dismay, there was a weird update announcement on the BPI mobile app.

iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad automatically notify users when a software update to the app exists. I received such notification and I went to the App Store to supposedly download the new version of the BPI mobile app. The weird thing was, the update announcement said not to download the app. Huh?

Here’s a screenshot of the update notification. It says:

Important: Please do not download this version.

Weird, weird, weird. There’s supposedly an update to the app but the download link says “not to download” it. Worse, there is no explanation why this is the case. If BPI does not want us to download the app, then they should not have uploaded the update to the App Store in the first place, right?

Anyway I decided not to update yet as it might cause the app to crash or, worse, my account to be compromised.

A day later, I received another notification that there is a (new) update  for the BPI mobile app. I logged in again to the App Store but was dismayed and surprised once more when a similar “Do not download this” warning appeared.

Here’s a screenshot of the new notification update. The link warns:

Note: Please do not get this version.

What the? I then decided not to update the app until BPI has explicitly said it is ok to download.

I am still thankful that BPI has ventured into mobile phone app in order to serve their customers better. However, for them to convince clients to adopt technology and eventually use smartphones to do banking, they need to ensure customers that their financial information and personal data are safe and secure.

Security is always one of the, if not the primary, issues customers have when dealing in an online platform. For users to trust BPI, the latter must assure customers that they offer them the highest level of security, safety, and stability of information all the time. Unfortunately, the experience with the buggy mobile app might scare a few BPI clients.

I have not lost hope on BPI and I will continue to use their mobile app, but only after they have finally and permanently ironed out this iOS update issue. I just hope — and I want BPI to assure me — that such a problem will not happen again.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.