Batista R. Harahap

BNI Online Debit

Accidentally I signed up for a BNI account. It was out of necessity to pay for my son's passport. As a bonus, BNI provides a way for its customers to use their Debit cards online. The cool thing is, they don't have to input their card number online.

In order to transact online, you'd need to request for a Virtual Card Number (VCN) through SMS Banking. Hence you need to enroll for the SMS Banking service.

On my iPhone I installed BNI SMS Banking app. It contains shortcuts so you don't have to remember all the commands through an easy UI. To get a VCN, you'd need to do the followings:

  1. Tap e-Commerce
  2. Tap e-Payment
  3. Type in the maximal value of Rp you want VCN to have
  4. Tap Proses
  5. Send the SMS
  6. Get an SMS reply
  7. Enter your PIN
  8. VCN FTW!

For debit cards, there is no protection like you would have in a credit card. For instance, with credit cards you can dispute a charge while for debit cards it will deduct your balance immediately. This is solved rather cleverly by BNI's VCN.

With one of the steps putting a maximal value, the VCN will never get charged higher than what you've already put. Best of all, the VCN is one time use only. I tried using the same VCN twice to no avail.


The downside is the convenience of real credit card. You would need to enter a new VCN every time you transact. The VCN is useless if you'd want to put it in your Apple or Google account.

I can live with the constraints.

A big thumbs up for BNI for making debit cards safe online. It's not as easy or convenient but it's more than enough!

20 May 2016 by Batista Harahap
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