Metrobank, the second largest bank in the Philippines, continues to innovate their banking services by introducing Metrobank Direct, their very own online banking facility If you’re a Metrobank account holder who wants to do banking transactions online, it’s best to know what to expect from their electronic services. Find out more with this helpful guide.
Metrobank Direct Enrollment
Who Can Enroll?
According to the bank’s FAQ section, customers with ATM, debit, credit, and prepaid cards can register online. However, on the Metrobank Direct enrollment page, the only account option available is the ATM card.
This means you can’t proceed with the online registration if your account doesn’t have an ATM card. In that case, proceed to any Metrobank branch to enroll your non-ATM deposit account.
How is the Enrollment Experience?
You can complete your Metrobank Direct application in one sitting without having to go to an ATM to activate your account. This makes it the easiest online banking enrollment process compared to BDO and BPI, which require an ATM activation before you can start.
To activate your Metrobank Direct online account, just enter a one-time password (OTP), which is sent to your registered mobile number in the activation email link. Metrobank will let you know if your enrollment is approved, which means you can already head to the Metrobank Direct login page.
What Enrollment Issues Might Happen?
Possible security breach
When you fill out the Metrobank Direct enrollment form, Metrobank will require you to enter your ATM PIN. Yes, the PIN code that you enter each time you use an ATM.
“Wait, aren’t we supposed to avoid providing confidential information like an ATM PIN?” you might wonder. Strange as it may seem, Metrobank needs your PIN to verify your enrollment. If you aren’t comfortable sharing your ATM PIN, you won’t complete your online registration.
Metrobank provided no explanation on why customers need to enter their PIN during enrollment. However, Metrobank uses a virtual or on-screen keyboard for the ATM PIN input. Compared to using a physical keyboard, a virtual keyboard reduces the risk of hackers getting access to your PIN.
Activation error messages
You need to complete your Metrobank Direct online activation within 20 minutes from the time you clicked the activation link. If you take longer than that, you’ll get a “session expired” message. Once you do, you’ll have to redo everything from scratch.
You might also get an “invalid temporary password” message constantly while activating your online account. This happens when you incorrectly enter the temporary password provided by the activation email.
Metrobank Direct Online Banking Services
One of the most remarkable features of the Metrobank Direct online banking portal is its demo page feature. It works like a virtual tour of the entire system. Even if you don’t have an account, you can explore it to get an idea of how Metrobank Direct works. Try it out for yourself and see if online banking is a right fit for you.
Once you’ve gained access to your Metrobank Direct Personal account, you can manage any of the following accounts:
- ATM savings
- Peso checking
- Time deposit
- Foreign currency savings
- Credit card
Notable Online Banking Features
With Metrobank Direct, you can perform usual banking transactions such as account management, bills payment, stock trading, and tax payment, among others. You can’t reload mobile numbers and prepaid cards on the desktop version though. Reloading services are available in the Metrobank smartphone app.
Although its online banking services aren’t as varied and comprehensive as those of BDO and BPI, Metrobank Direct more than makes up for its limitations with its useful functionalities.
1. Credit Card Account Management
Metrobank made it convenient for their cardholders to check their balance and credit card statements. This is useful for those who receive their printed statements late. Metrobank credit card application can also be done within the bank’s online banking system.
2. Bills Payment
Like other online banking services in the Philippines, Metrobank enables customers to pay bills online. What makes it better from the rest is that Metrobank Direct eliminates the need to remember different due dates.
Users can choose either a one-time bills payment and pre-schedule it as far as 90 days in advance or a recurring payment scheduled up to three years.
3. Transfer Funds
With Metrobank’s online banking facility, you can transfer money to your own accounts and third-party accounts, whether enrolled or not. You can also pre-schedule funds transfer up to 90 days ahead or set to recur up to three years. However, Metrobank Direct only allows money transfer between Metrobank accounts.
Metrobank charges services fees per money transfer:
- PHP 25 for peso transfer from a Metro Manila branch to a provincial branch
- USD 1 for dollar transfer within the same region
- USD 2 for dollar transfer from a Metro Manila branch to a provincial branch or vice-versa
Unlike BPI that requires pre-enrollment of any third-party account prior to transfer funds, Metrobank allows users to just enter the 13-digit account number without having to register the account. This feature is convenient because you can easily send money to any account without having to enroll it for funds transfer.
But it also makes the system prone to online banking fraud. If a hacker gains access to your online account, he can easily transfer funds to his Metrobank account without your consent. Even if there’s a PHP 5,000 daily funds transfer limit, hackers can easily drain your account within days.
4. Account Personalization
Metrobank Direct allows users to customize their homepage so they can quickly access the service they most often use. For example, if you use it mainly for paying bills, you can set your homepage to be the Pay Bills page. This will make it quicker for you to pay bills each time you use your Metrobank Direct online account.
Sometimes, Metrobank customers can’t log in to their online account. This could be a browser-related problem. To solve it, try to clear your browser cache and close all your browser windows. You may also try using another browser if you can’t log in with your default browser.
If you get an error message that says your browser is unsupported upon login, check your browser if it’s compatible with the Metrobank online banking system. Metrobank Direct supports the following browser versions:
- Google Chrome C17 and up
- Safari 5.1 and up
- Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and up
- Internet Explorer 7.0 and up
Like other banks in the Philippines, Metrobank conducts system maintenance and upgrades that cause downtime of its online banking services. While system maintenance and updates are necessary to ensure consistent service, a downtime any time of the year is still a hassle.
To avoid inconvenience, follow the bank’s social media accounts for downtime and other special announcements so you can transact online in advance.
Metrobank Direct Online Security
The Metrobank website’s Security Center provides tips and instructions on what to do when your online account is compromised. Technology-wise, the bank’s security features aren’t lacking. Here are the most notable ones.
1. Website Encryption
Metrobank uses 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption on all its online transactions to prevent unauthorized access to personal data. This encryption method is considered one of the most secure and unbreakable.
2. User Authentication
Aside from passwords, Metrobank uses Verisign digital certificates and a challenge-response authentication technique to verify user identity, making sure that the user really owns the account he or she is trying to access.
3. Alerts and Notifications
Metrobank Direct can send you a notification via email and/or SMS each time a transaction or request is made on your account. This security feature can help you act immediately should any unauthorized access or transaction happen. To enable this feature, just go to Security Tools > Alerts & Notification and choose the items you want to receive an alert on.
4. Automatic Logout
If you leave your Metrobank Direct Personal account idle or fail to log out after 20 minutes, the system will automatically log out to prevent unauthorized access.
Reported Security Threats
Even with good online banking security features in place, many Metrobank Direct users still experience security breach.
1. Email Phishing and Fake Login Website
Beware of any email supposedly from Metrobank telling you that your credit card or deposit account has been blocked due to security reasons. It usually contains a link to a fake login site that looks identical to the real Metrobank Direct site. This is called email phishing.
Once you log in to the fake website, it will ask you to update your bank details, including your credit card number, expiration date, and security code. That’s a red flag that the site is a fraud.
The image below shows how the authentic Metrobank online banking website looks like. It has a lock icon on the address bar and the URL starts with the domain name. If you’re using a browser other than Google Chrome, the URL will start with an “https.”
2. Unauthorized Transactions
A lot of customers complain about the bank’s slow response to their filed complaints. Expect a waiting time of around one to five months for Metrobank to conclude their investigation regarding unauthorized transactions.
3. “Palit SIM” Scam
Last year, Metrobank lands themselves in hot water when the news of a SIM swap scam broke out. One of their customers lost PHP 40,000 in her bank account she’d been using for online transactions. Someone had swapped her mobile phone’s SIM card without her knowledge and used it to access her bank account through the Metrobank online banking service.
With online banking security threats rising in the Philippines, Metrobank is one of the banks that are hit the hardest. For now, it seems a 100% risk-free online banking experience is elusive to Filipinos.
Still, Metrobank Direct is extremely convenient to use. But if Metrobank improves its customer service, especially on resolving complaints about unauthorized access and transactions, its online banking users can rest easy knowing they’re in good hands.
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