My bank has broken

Cherryflava have an interesting blog post today, entitled Patience wearing very thin, about the fact the FNB’s internet banking seems to be down.

I agree with the sentiment. I have been a big fan of FNB’s since they made it so easy for my wife and I to open accounts when we first moved to South Africa. Some other high street banks tried to make it so hard, even for Nicole who is a South African citizen.

However, I have to say I have never been impressed with their internet banking service.
The first time I tried to register I went through a terribly long process of registration only to be told my selected username was already in use – I then had to start all over again from the beginning.

As for the actual online banking site there are a lot of little usability issues that annoy and frustrate me such as trying to pay someone, filling in half the form before realising it’s a non-fnb account and having to select “a Non FNB Account” which then clears my form. This one gets me every time!

Their error system sucks – if something goes wrong you get an obscure error message such as:

Error Occurred: We have encountered unexpected technical difficulties while processing your request. If you were performing a payment or transfer, please check your transaction history since your transaction may have been successfully processed. If the problem persists, please contact the relevant number below with a description of what you were doing and quote error code 0-7. (This is what I got just now just by logging on!)

Recently I spent 2 days waiting for a response from their technical support team just to find out what an error meant.

In the UK I have been a long time user of First Direct bank’s online internet system and in the years I have used it I don’t believe it has ever been unavailable or given me an error when I’ve tried to do something that I was allowed to do. Why is it in South Africa we can’t get these things to work properly?

I notice now that they are announcing today that ALL Internet Banking users will be moved to a new Online Banking system between the dates of 18 – 22 March 2007 .
I hope the new system is better, however the login process is likely to frustrate. They have added a process called One Time PIN (OTP).

“The OTP is a unique 8-digit security PIN that you will receive each time you login to the system. You can choose to receive the OTP via SMS or email (primary OTP delivery mechanism), and you also have the option to enter a backup OTP delivery mechanism in the chance that the primary mechanism fails.” What happens if they both fail?

So instant internet banking now means I have to wait for an email or SMS before I can gain access. I imagine this is going to help with Phishing but generally it’s going to be a painful process.

It will be interesting to see if they have fixed some of the usability problems with this new system or if it just gets worse.

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