Sunday, July 25, 2010
Unionbank EON Internet Banking
Unionbank of the Philippines, or Unionbank for short, is listed among the top 10 biggest local banks. It is progressive, tech-savvy and has shown interest in pushing the adoption of e-commerce. It is one of the first local banks to offer essentially a prepaid Visa called Visa Electron under its EON brand. EON is an electronic-only account. It does not come with a passbook. You just register online for a Cyber Account to manage your EON account. You can use your Visa Electron card to make purchases which are debited against your account.
Unionbank EON became well known in the local e-commerce industry as being the pioneer in allowing PayPal to be funded by a Philippine bank account. It is not really a bank funding in the same way that US PayPal users can fund their PayPal account using their bank account. It is really closer to a credit card funding because, after all, the Visa Electron card is really a full-fledged Visa card. And since PayPal allows credit cards to be linked to it, it follows that it can treat the Visa tied to your EON account to be linked also.
The Unionbank EON Internet banking facility runs on Microsoft IIS 6.0 and ASP.NET 1.1 technology. Most likely, its host OS is Windows 2003 Server. Like Chinabank Online, it also has the annoying behavior of opening up a new full-screen window when you click on the EON Cyber Account link. I don't understand why banks seem to enjoy doing that since it clutters the desktop. If like me, you find this annoying, you might consider bookmarking this URL instead. It will open the EON Internet banking site on the current page or tab.
Unlike the Internet banking facility of other banks, Unionbank chose to implement its login password by synchronizing it to your EON's ATM Personal Identification Number (PIN). Since Unionbank uses a 4-digit PIN system for its ATM, that limits you to just 10,000 possible combinations. That is not really a very strong password system. But the system will lock you out after 3 consecutive erroneous attempts.
Unionbank EON Cyber Account provides all the features that you would expect from an online banking facility. You can perform account balance inquiry, view your transaction history, pay bills, perform fund transfers to 3rd party Unionbank accounts (EON or otherwise). You can even transfer funds to other bank accounts for only PHP10, one of the lowest fee I've seen in the local market.
For additional security, transactions such as fund transfers require a transaction password. This is different from your login password. Unionbank password security policy require that you change your passwords every 180 days. While this is good practice, it can be inconvenient at times for end-users as you are forced to keep coming up with new passwords until you eventually are forced to write it down somewhere so you will not forget (which is another security hazard by itself). Unlike the login password, you are no longer constrained to use a 4-digit PIN. You can use very long case-sensitive alphanumeric passwords.
Unionbank is owned by the Cebu-based Aboitiz Group whose business interest range from power generation (Visayas Electric) to logistics (2GO). It is a member of the Megalink ATM consortium and is the lead proponent for Megalink's online payment system through The PORT. The Unionbank EON account does not require a minimum maintaining balance. However, there is an annual fee of PHP350.00 to keep it active. As of this writing, Unionbank has 180 branches nationwide.
Unionbank EON account holders may purchase from online merchants with Dragonpay using their EON Internet banking account. EON users who have not enabled their Cyber Account Internet banking access may do so for free by enrolling their ATM card number and PIN at the Unionbank website. Activation only takes about a day.