Citibank says “no” to LinuxOne of the wonderful things about developing web applications is the ability to use those applications across a variety of platforms.

A few days ago, I finally filed my DBA (or “Trade Name” as it is called in Colorado) for Webcraft Studios. The next step in getting the company rolling was opening a bank account. I’ve always been treated good by my personal bank, Bank of America. However, my bank has no physical locations anywhere near Denver and I was stoked about one of the credit card rewards program Citibank offered. As I proceeded to open my Citibank account, I was greeted with a message telling me that my operating system was not supported.

If you have read any of this site, you’re well aware that part of the Webcraft Studios mission is to embrace open source software to the fullest extent possible. As a developer myself, I can not think of any actual functionality that my system configuration would lack that would prevent their online banking to function correctly. Basically, Citibank is blocking me from signing up.

Let me say this another way, in case it isn’t clear. Citibank is turning away an eager customer because I am running Linux as my operating system.

Needless to say, I opened a Bank of America account. Even though I’ve seen some hiccups in their system over the years, BoA has a fantastic online system with lots of tools. They are so good, in fact, that I’ve stayed with them even though I can not physically walk into a bank without driving hours away.

I wrote a letter to Citibank letting them know why I was unable to become a customer. I got back a very long form letter asking me to “consider all of their benefits”. There was absolutely nothing in their response that suggested anyone read what I wrote. This reassured me that Citibank was not the right option for me and Webcraft.

Dear Bank of America, thank you for being awesome. I tried to play the field, but I still came back to you.

EDIT NOTE 2/13/08: As some readers have pointed out, you can indeed use Citibank’s site with Linux. The error message attached to this post has a “continue” button that leads back to the home page of the site. I assumed, since it went back to the home page instead of the first step of creating an account, that there was no way to bypass the message. It turns out that the SECOND time you go to create the account, they allow you access. While they have a very poor UI flow, they do indeed allow Linux in the door. My apologies.

7 Responses to “Citibank Doesn’t Support Linux Users”

  1. Did you cut out the button at the bottom that allows you to continue anyway? I certainly don’t see it in your ss.

  2. at the bottom it says you can click on continue…. does that work? my bank, usbank, used to throw that up, but everything still worked fine.

  3. I suggest you try a local credit union. There are several in the Denver area and I promise you will get a better return on your finances than BoA or Citibank could ever offer.

    As a programmer at a Credit Union, I shop the competition myself and I know that, typically, dividends are higher and interest rates and fees are lower than most banks will offer.

    Preferably, look for a CU that uses Apache for it’s main web server. Then you will know their IT department “gets it”.

    My wooden nickel’s worth. :)

  4. I think its because of your browser!

    I can access my citibank account from Linux using firefox.

  5. DeadWisdom & Carl : I did cut the button from the screenshot, only because the button linked backed to the front page of the website. What I didn’t know was that if you go to create an account a SECOND time, it will allow you access. Very strange flow!!! So yes, I was wrong – the site DOES work with Linux, they just have an extremely unintuitive error message in the way.

  6. Go to Firefox and download User-Agent-Switcher. When you restart Firefox, go to Tools, User-Agent Switcher and set to Vista. Citibanks online banking should now work (I just discovered this just now – it works!). I am using Linux Mint 5 (Elyssa) KDE.

  7. Scot – Great tip. I found this after I’d already switched banks, but thank you for posting!

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