02 July 2014

Banking Rant

I usually keep my blog for creative posts, but I've decided to become a ranter, at least briefly.

I just logged into my Citibank online banking for the first time in months. What a hugely frustrating experience. The site used to work fine, but it seems the tinkering boffins have been in and "improved it" (which seems to be programmer speak for "made unworkable"). If engineers live by the "don't fix what ain't broke" rule, IT boffins seem to live by "if it works fine, complicate it".

The issue I have:
1. I log in. I need a username (which is not my account name, so it's not recorded on any official bits of paper that someone could steal). I need a password, which I created myself. I now also need to wait for the bank to send a four digit code to my mobile. Since that's been implemented I have received my code within a few minutes, but I just know that one day I won't. It won't necessarily be the bank's issue, it might the teleco. It won't really matter to me who's at fault; the result will be the same.

2. Against my cash account I have a message, "Your card needs to be activated". There's a hyperlink, "Activate now". I click the hyperlink, thinking, "Wow, this is an improvement to having to ring up, push dozens of codes into the phone, and then wait for an operator." But, wait! It's all a hoax. When I click the hyperlink, I get a list of my cards. I have two cards - a cash account and a credit card. The list only has one card - for my cash account - and that card is listed as "activated". If I wish to activate the new card they sent me, it would seem I'm going to have to use the phone system after all.

3. I'm trying to balance my books for end of financial year. I hate financials and I'll admit I'm approaching this task with a lot of grace to start with. On the old system, there was an option on the main menu, "download activity". Clicking the button took you to a new page with all the download options. It took me a good 5 minutes to find a small pale hyperlink on the specific account page. Clicking it opens a floating window.
First option (the only one showing in the window) is to select a date range. In the "from" calendar I scroll back as far as it will let me. At some point, the dates grey-out and I can't select them. In the "to" I choose today.
When I press go, I'm informed that there are more options. Oh, yeah, look at that. There's a pale, skinny, scroll bar to the side. Even the option to download the activity is in a specific account's window, I have to choose the account I want. Finally, I've found all the options, but it still doesn't work. According to the error message I get, "the date range you have chosen is not available for this account". No indication of what date range is available - the dates I've chosen are still clickable on the calendar.
In the end, I give up. I keep clicking "show more activity" at the bottom of my transaction list. When I run out, I highlight the whole lot on the screen and copy and paste it into Excel.

4. I thought perhaps I should download all my available statements. They come through by email, but it's on the other computer and (silly me) I thought it would faster to download them again, rather than find them on the other machine.
I go to the 'view statements' page. It lists three accounts. I have had a third account in the past, but only had two accounts for several years. Oddly enough the account names are not the account name - they're all my name (in various forms). No indication which account they relate to, so I have no option but to click each one. Two of them return an error, telling me there're no statements to download. I download all the available statements for the third one - no idea which one it is until I open the files.

5. In fairness, I decide to send my rant to the bank. Here is one improvement - the message system used to be limited to about 300 or 500 characters, which is barely enough to get started. They still haven't fixed the issue of "special characters". Is there anything more galling to an editor than to be told you can't use apostrophes, because they're "special" characters? PUH-LEASE!

I don't use the online banking very often, but it is the only way I can access my account. There is only one branch, in the CBD. I'm thinking it's time to change banks. What a nuisance.

No comments: