ICICI and HDFC Netbanking services: A review and comparison

I don’t get surprised anymore when my office colleagues tell me that they don’t know where their salary account bank branch is located in their city. It’s because banks today provide decent online banking services allowing you to forget the need-to-plan-a-visit-to-my-bank.

So how good are these services and how far are we from a truly branch-less banking experience in India? Woikr reviews and compares for you two of the most frequently used internet banking services available by Indian banks: ICICI Netbanking and HDFC Netbanking.

After State Bank of India, which is unarguably the most widely used bank in India, both ICICI and HDFC banks are amongst the top Indian banks in terms of customer base, infrastructure and facilities provided and both have fairly succeeded in providing powerful Netbanking services.

The common do-it-from-home facilities that both these Netbankings provide to their customers are:

  • Viewing of Account summary, current balance, all historic transactions, mini and detailed statements.
  • Linking of your multiple accounts like Savings, Current, Credit cards, Demat, Mutual funds and Fixed deposit accounts to a single Netbanking ID.
  • Transfer of funds (more on this in subsequent section) 😉
  • Requesting a new demand draft or cheque book at your address.
  • Online payment of utility bills like Electricity, Gas, Landline and Mobile phone bills, Insurance premiums, Credit card bills, etc.
  • Applying for new Fixed Deposits online.
  • Download of Account statements in Text, Excel and MS Money formats.
  • Online request for a hard copy of your bank statements at your address. ICICI charges INR 50 whereas HDFC charges INR 30 per statement request.
  • Viewing status of deposited cheques or stopping the payment of a cheque.
  • Both use High-grade Encryptions for secure login and transactions. ICICI uses RC4 128 bit whereas HDFC uses AES-256 256 bit.
  • Both have recently enabled Virtual Keyboard logins to stop any software from recording your passwords when you type them. Virtual keyboard asks you to choose the password letters by a mouse.

As a regular user of both these Netbanking facilities since last 3 years, I can say that the above services really do save me the bother of standing in queues at a local branch.

So far so good. Now the what’s-missing-by-whom part! A closer look reveals that both these vary significantly and that ICICI Netbanking is better than HDFC Netbanking by leaps and bounds in terms of facilities.

Here is a comparison of their services feature-by-feature:

Transfer of Funds: This is a major difference. ICICI Netbanking’s Funds Transfer facility is much more hassle-free as compared to HDFC’s Third Party Transfer (TPT) facility. The problem arises not in using the service but in applying to the service. The facility to transfer funds to yours or someone else’s account, at intra or inter-bank branch, comes readily with the ICICI Netbanking subscription. That is, the facility is ready to use and you just need to add-in the new beneficiary for making the first transfer.

However, HDFC doesn’t agree to this simplicity and requires you to apply to this service by filling up a hard copy of the Third Party Transfer Application Form and submitting it to any of their Bank branches or ATM. Now when we are striving for branch-less banking, this looks off-the-road to me. Moreover, user experiences say that the application is not processed promptly if you deposit the activation form at an ATM, and may cause further delays upto weeks. Hence, it is preferred to walk into the HDFC bank and talk to the representative for activation (walking is good for health seems to be HDFC’s hidden motto here!) 🙂

Applying for new Accounts: You can initiate the opening of a variety of accounts online through ICICI Netbanking by submitting an online request with the details. For certain accounts like the Recurring Deposits, the request gets completed without the need for you to visit the bank, and the newly created account is accessible at your next login upon approval. On the other hand, in case for HDFC, this becomes possible only on visiting the bank branch. ICICI Netbanking also offers online self-compounding accounts like Recurring Deposits and Money Multiplier Account that HDFC Netbanking doesn’t.

Insta-Alerts Customisation:Though both ICICI and HDFC Netbanking offers the facility of receiving message “Alerts” on your mobile to notify transactions, ICICI offers online customisation of the alerts upto the minutest details. For e.g, you can configure the threshold amounts above which you need an alert for, and also specify whether you need the alert by an SMS or email. You can as well toggle on/off the Insta-alerts for one or more services, say if you don’t want to receive the alerts for fund credits and need them only for debits. Cool, eh? Bravo ICICI 🙂

More Limitations: HDFC Netbanking is also lagging behind as it doesn’t allow:

  • Premature liquidation of your Fixed Deposit
  • De-registration of Bill Pay facility

whereas these are enabled by ICICI Netbanking.

Other way round: So, is there anything which is offered by HDFC Netbanking and not by ICICI Netbanking? 🙂 Believe me, I had to look hard to find this and, gladly, here are some unique services that HDFC offers but ICICI doesn’t:

  • HDFC offers TDS Enquiry facility by which you can instantly check how much TDS (Tax Deduction at Source) was applicable on your current and previous taxable years.
  • HDFC also allows re-generation of your IPIN (password) online in case you have forgotten it. However in case of ICICI, you need to call up the customer care to request a new Netbanking password and it will be delivered to you (by post!) in about 5 working days. (Gosh ICICI… you need to be fast and prompt here!)

The User Interface and Ease-to-use: The million dollar question! Who offers a better and more user friendly interface? Well, HDFC Netbanking has a slightly simpler and user-friendly interface as compared to ICICI. However, what use is it if HDFC doesn’t offer as many services as ICICI Netbanking does?

(HDFC Netbanking main screen preview. Click on image for full-size screenshot)


The ICICI Netbanking interface on the other hand, though quite appealing aesthetically, ends up overwhelming the user with its plethora of options. It requires some practice by a naïve user to master the usage of all the options available on ICICI Netbanking, whereas HDFC Netbanking, with its lesser options, is intuitive to use from Day 1.

ICICI Main Screen

(ICICI Netbanking main screen preview. Click on image for full-size screenshot)


Having said this, I would still prefer to use ICICI Netbanking anytime as it allows me to do any banking action that I can think of. And am sure that if HDFC starts offering everything that ICICI does, the HDFC Netbanking designers and developers will be seen asking for a big salary raise! 😉

Bill-Pay Charges: The Bill Pay facility is offered free of cost by ICICI Netbanking, whereas HDFC charges INR 25 per quarter for Bill Pay. (Yes, I know it’s a meager amount, but still why should you pay when another is providing the service for free?)

Security process: The ICICI debit cards now comes with a “Grid” feature for increased online transaction security. The Debit cards have a table of 16 numbers at the back, and the online user is asked to enter 3 random numbers from this grid before the funds transfer can complete.

  • Pros: This additional process results in increased security.
  • Cons: You must possess your debit card at all times for transferring funds (or remember the sequence of the 16 two-digit numbers by heart – not everyone’s cup of tea!). So if you need to make an urgent transaction to a friend’s account and are not carrying the card in your wallet, be prepared to explain the delay to him!

Site Upgrade: Though HDFC Netbanking appears stagnant to me with minimal new offerings, ICICI Netbanking is constantly upgrading and is offering more and more to their customers every few months. It currently offers new services like smsNCash, Bank@Home and Receive Funds, and seems to work hard to retain and grow its customer base.

Rating: So, do I sound like someone who has been paid handsomely to promote ICICI Netbanking? 🙂 Believe me, that’s not the case and candid facts and user-experience are speaking for themselves. Taking these into consideration these, the woikr rating for these Netbankings is as follows:

ICICI Netbanking

  • Graphical Interface: 4/5
  • User-friendliness: 3/5
  • Facilities and Services offered: 4.5/5
  • Upgradation: 4/5
  • Closer to Branch-less Banking: 4.5/5

HDFC Netbanking

  • Graphical Interface: 3.5/5
  • User-friendliness: 4/5
  • Facilities and Services offered: 3/5
  • Upgradation: 3/5
  • Closer to Branch-less Banking: 3.5/5

That’s it folks! Please do share with woikr your views and tell us whether you agree or disagree. We value your feedback for future reviews.

And yes, before I close, I would like to say that the State Bank of India’s Netbanking SBI Online is another potential candidate for review and comparison. But more on this later. Currently, I don’t have an SBI login and password to use! Would you like to share yours with me? 🙂

Cheers!

[ Image courtesy: Me! ]

*** Footnote: All review comments are based on the personal opinion of the author as per his own user -experience with the compared products.***

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Comments

38 Responses to this post

  1. Raju says:

    Nice post, still did not understand how this is a related post to the Camera post.

    ~Raju

  2. Anshuman@woikr says:

    Hi Raju …..Thanks! …… Yes, this post is not related to the Camera's post. The system (WordPress Plugin) is picking it up because one or more of the "tags" must have matched with the other post. Removing the conflicting tags.

    Regards.

  3. Anonymously Reading says:

    Good Post !! Giving good insight on net banking of both the major banks of india. Hopefully HDFC guys read it and sort these things out.

  4. GR8 says:

    Now ……ICICI should sponsor u guys on this AMAZING article.

  5. Sidhant says:

    Great article. Very informative. Like the way you do the detailed comparisions. Wish you would have included SBI netbanking too, as I use that 😉

  6. Swaroop says:

    @GR8 – Thanks But we are not yet considering paid reviews for now 🙂

    @Sidhant – We'd like to review the SBI Banking too. But some time soon 😉

  7. Pat says:

    ICICI BANK is a fradulent back.!!!! Beware…

    I got bitter experiences and going though one now!!!

    It is a biggest scammest bank surviving in the Limelight of our Indian customer needs.

    For more info,, see icici auto debit credit card issues.

    They recently charged me a total of 6000Rs just because I dont have money in my savings/checking account!! even though I dont own anything.!!!

    I made a purchase of 2000Rs a year ago, and ensured its paid off.

    But recently i verified my statements to see they charged by initial 400Rs bcoz i dont have money in my checking account for auto debit which i have opted for lonng back.. and for that 400rs they charged, i didnt pay bcoz i didnt see my statements.. (i dont use icici at all.)

    And they kept adding those interests and auto debits again, and again bringing that to 6000Rs, and not a notice to block my card!

    So why havent they notified me before ?

    When i tried callin then , they told me all this story… and bull shit…

    Beware fo this bank dude…

    I use HDFC tooo, and never had such scam problem at least.

  8. Prakash says:

    Blog likha hai ye etihaas ke prassan ka jawaab …shud hav been short ..anyways informative…gud wrk!

  9. Swaroop says:

    @Prakash,

    Thanks for the positive comment, This post is huge because we cannot compare two great banks and their online services without explaining without examples 🙂

  10. Pita says:

    Well both ICICI & HDFC poop their pants if we have HSBC's net banking in picture, you get that nice RSA Secure ID token with your account. Ofcourse they look more like the ones that your office gives you for your VPN etc, but cmon they are way better than HDFC & ICICI .

  11. chirag@woikr says:

    @Pita,

    I haven't used HSBC for NetBanking. But their credit card account sucks. It's such a clumsy UI and there's no option to pay the bill online through some other bank account.

    Although I do get that RSA Secure ID device, which is kinda cool but a trouble to carry around 🙂

  12. Riya says:

    can any1 tell me comparision between icici and hdfc bank mobile banking services?

  13. Indianbytes.com says:

    HDFC Netbanking Services Comparison With ICICI’s Netbanking Service…

    I don’t get surprised anymore when my office colleagues tell me that they don’t know where their salary account bank branch is located in their city. It’s because banks today provide decent online banking services allowing you to forget the need-…

  14. pligg.com says:

    ICICI and HDFC Netbanking services: A review and comparison…

    don’t get surprised anymore when my office colleagues tell me that they don’t know where their salary account bank branch is located in their city. It’s because banks today provide decent online banking services allowing you to forget the need-to…

  15. Susmita says:

    This post by Mr. Johri, is absolutely superb. I agree that it's bit lengthy but whats the harm to read line by line. Its a gr8 effort to do a such a detailed research. I personally use ICICI and its facilities and didn't face as many probs as described. At the same time I wanna open an account with HDFC as well. Customer service is poor for both the banks, it should be improved at a regular pace.

    Anyway hats off to this person who took so much trouble to post the article here. I loved reading it.

  16. Ripri says:

    That was a very decent comparison. I experienced trouble with applying for the third party transfer with HDFC too… But meeting HDFC folks at banks is a much more plesant experience than meeting ICICI folks at theirs. Hope the branch navigation becomes easier and they could greet customers, rather than appear to be doing a favor!

  17. Siddharth says:

    In terms of security as mentioned ICICI is much better than HDFC . If your net banking passwrd leaks in case of HDFC you can loose all your money where as in ICICI you need to leak your two passwords and grid . So chance is rare.

  18. Kundan says:

    Nice comparison of features.

    I have been using ICICI Netbanking, HDFC Netbanking and Citibank Netbanking for several years now, and believe me, HDFC Bank overall is still a relatively conservative bank to deal with. In terms of convenience, I would grade it only slightly better than SBI now. I also deal with Kotak Mahindra, SBI and couple of other PSU banks

    In terms of overall Netbanking Experience, I like Citibank the most. While there are some features in ICICI which are absent in Citibank, overall, it is very functional and very easy to use overall.

    In my last company, my salary account was with Citi. It offered unlimited transactions on any ATM in India for free. HDFC provides only 10 (in some cases 20) free Txns in a month on other ATMs to salary account customers. Secondly, If you want to make a one-time utility bill payment (say Telephone, Postpaid Mobile Phone, Electricity Bills), you need to register online and the corresponding biller needs to register you at back-end. This process takes time and sometimes doesn't even happen. But Citibank makes it convenient at the next level. You just need to provide bill details on the web-site, and at the citi-back-end, it generates a cheque, which is paid to the biller on your behalf. It takes 2 working days to reflect.

    I think this is simply a great way to make bill-payments, far more useful in my opinion for an average user, who wouldn't want to make a long-term tie-up with the bank for bill-pay facility.

    Also, if you want to make a DD and send it to some address, in Citibank, you can do the complete process online. You don't have to deal with the physical instrument at all. You just need to provide the target branch (of course, it is not limited to locations where Citibank has a branch, but almost every reasonable town: I guess more than few hundreds of locations for sure, by having a tie-up with other PSU banks), the beneficiary name, amount and the address to be delivered in India. They usually send it by a good courier, but in case the target address doesn't have courier facility, then they even send it by Registered post. This entire facility is free (no DD Comission charges for upto 50,000 per month or quarter), no courier/Regd post charges, and the user doesn't have to do anything beyond a few clicks!! I've used this facility once, and it was delivered in 3 working days to a very remote location in Eastern UP.

    For a person like me who changes place of living frequently, Citi doesn't even require you to furnish address proof for new address. You just need to log-in and provide the new address (of course, with added security of random number sent to your mobile/email, which you need to enter there to authorize such transactions, including payee addition). Even when you contact Phonebanking CSR in Citi, they're really professional and very helpful. By far the best experience among all the banks where I hold accounts.

    HDFC's phonebanking is not really 24-hours. If you need to talk to a representative, it's only from 8-to-8. Rest of the time, it is only IVRS. This doesn't even compare with ICICI's and Citibank's phonebanking, which are really 24-hours open.

    Also, Citi was the first in India to have virtual keyboard based login, and other banks have just copied, to my knowledge.

    ICICI has extremely good branch banking experience too. Their 8-to-8 branch working hours are a boon to all professionals like me. They're quite systematic in Queue handling too. Their netbanking is pretty good, I would say among the best in terms of features. In fact ICICI's netbanking was rated the best in the world overall by some reputed international finance magazine.

  19. ganesh says:

    Its good post.. I actually want to transfer fund from my HDFC to ICICI.. Later,I felt bad how difficult to do…………

    Icici Netbanking Offers me More.. My choice is ICICI ..

  20. Mahendra says:

    I will add one more, in favor of ICICI

    – transfer to any account is free in ICICI but HDFC has charge on TPT

  21. avinash says:

    nice comparison but but but

    just opt for an sbi ac and net banking and see the diffenence.

    the user interface the qos the help menual and all the facility that u have compared

    and most importantly the security….

    5/5 marks man

    its owsome just liike anything

    hdfc no security and the facility for net banking is also very poor

    2/5 for the fact that it has the net banking software may it be the worst one

    icic far better then hdfc

    i haven gone for the hdfc for the since the last year but now when i have it i know the difference and feel sory why i have opted for it.

  22. Dushyant says:

    Hi Anshuman,

    I am trying hard to login to hdfc portal. But it doesnt accept my 14 digit account number 🙁

    It stops text entry at just ten digits.

    What to do?

  23. Kundan says:

    @Dushyant: HDFC Netbanking doesn't accept your account number in the login page. It only accepts the 8-digit Customer-ID. The reason for doing such a thing is so that multiple accounts can be linked to the same customer id and the customer can view/transact with all the linked accounts together in a single login. Please get your customer id from the bank (or search for your welcome-kit) if you don't have one right now.

  24. ICICI Netbanking for Saving and Current account is different. I have been using their netbanking for saving account, which is good. Just started using their corporate net banking for my current account. It sucks, lack-lusture UI and things like registering a payee are dead slow, you click on the link and wait for more than a minute before the page loads again. Also I am not sure how to transfer funds to other ICICI bank accounts. Can use NEFT for other bank accounts. But don't see a link for adding ICICI bank accounts payees anywhere. Really frustrated.

  25. Anbu says:

    very true comparision, i thing all banking facilities being introduced by ICICI only…

    They can face any rumers, like shares with the leamon brothers

  26. Saminath G says:

    Hi Friends,

    Thanks for all ur feedbacks…

    I will also vote for ICICI, by forgetting the bank branches we are using online services for that the main reason behind is the best designed website. In fact they are upgrading with lots of future newly… Also as our friends mentioned here, the security features in ICICI is very gud.

    So from my finding, ICICI is the best one when comparing to any other one.

    Thanks & regards,
    Saminath. G

  27. Sourav says:

    Superb Post.

    Indepth review.. and is the best when it comes to choose between this to banking horses..

    Well i choose ICICI..after reading this.. thanks fr helping me to zero in on the choices 🙂

    Thanks a lot !

  28. Dr. Bhagwati Prasad says:

    I have been making efforts to get some links to pay for HDFC credit card but not successful. I might have spent at least two hours on searching various links. Kindly make it explicit PAYMENT OF OTHER CREDIT CARDS THROUGH NET BANKING WITH ICICI

    • Sabeer says:

      The post is fantastic..For people who travel frequently and move around maintaining an HDFC bank account is a hassle . ICICI would be a better choice given the netbanking facilities they provide.

  29. Dileep says:

    Hi,

    I previously had an ICICI account and just loved its facilities.

    Noe I have opened an HDFC account , It took 2 weeks to activate my HDFC account, I have submited a request for third party transfer 10 days back but it is not yet activate…..

    Icici is the best………….

  30. Janrdhanan S says:

    Hi nice post.

    i still cant forget..

    The HDFC agent was torturing for similar signature. He never left even i explained him that i am not gonna use my cheque. n yes i aggree why shld i apply for third party transfer? onlinesbi.com is much better than HDFC in this case.

  31. Ganesh Kumar.K says:

    Hi….

    Gud comparison….and well said about the real facts about present banking services…

    I use HDFC and citibank accounts….citibank is offering best online activites for the account holders than HDFC…

    I hold an account with HDFC bank for the past 3 years, but till now i haven't registered for funds transfer facility due to the inconvenience in registration process (They require HARDCOPY SUBMISSION in the bank for every application)….

    But citibank is really comfortable and shows more care on customer's ability and convenience with high security focus too….

  32. Suraj says:

    XLNT review helpmed me make a decision

  33. shakun says:

    Hi,
    i have an icici savings account and i recently opened an online recurring deposit from it. the money has been deducted from my account, but the new account is not showing up in 'my accounts'. why is this happening? do i have to link the new account or something?

  34. Ganesh says:

    Hi

    One thing highlighted in HDFC is viewing Tax Credit Statement:

    ICICI also offers the facility of viewing the Tax Credit Statment- Form 26AS online.

    Just go to Bank Accounts Tab- on the left column menu click "View Tax Credit Statement(Form 26AS)" I could see my Tax credit from year 2005

  35. Nawin says:

    I have been using citibank for 3+years and had never a complaint and now my new company sal a/c is HDFC., Its working with 18th century style of banking methods.., Cant even transfer funds to third party at instance need to wait for a day for activation.., and wait for everything.,
    After al this wait u end up paying extra money for transferring money to a third party bank account.

    Hdfc is really not for today’s generation.

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