Bank­ing bonkers

Finweek English Edition - - To My Mind - PHILIP LLOYD

YOUR EX­CEL­LENT SE­RIES on call cen­tres could be ex­tended to some other ser­vice providers. My re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence with a bank’s In­ter­net ser­vices demon­strates the need. I help a small NGO that set up In­ter­net bank­ing to try to save costs. As the end of the month ap­proached, they tried to pay about 100 peo­ple who’d been help­ing. The first prob­lem was that some branch codes weren’t recog­nised. A call to the In­ter­net bank­ing help line re­vealed that where there were only six dig­its you had to add “00” to get the sys­tem to recog­nise it.

Af­ter about 10 had fi­nally been paid, the sys­tem cried “Foul!” The monthly spend limit had been ex­ceeded. The NGO had thought it was a daily limit when it was set up, but the sys­tem said it was a monthly limit. Nowhere on the web pages could we find any record of the limit – un­til we hit it.

Two of­fi­cers had to go to the branch, sign a re­quest to in­crease the limit, prove (yet again) ev­ery­thing was Fica-com­pli­ant and leave as­sured the limit would be in­creased that day. Of course, it didn’t hap­pen and calls to the In­ter­net bank­ing help desk left the prob­lem un­re­solved.

Back at the bank the next day – and af­ter a rage at the branch man­ager – a ser­vice con­sul­tant was del­e­gated to fix the prob­lem. Try­ing to en­ter the data was a night­mare. It was now month-end and cell­phone mes­sages took ages to get through. So the one-time PIN didn’t ar­rive in time to com­plete the lo­gon and by the time it did ar­rive, the sys­tem had au­to­mat­i­cally logged off.

Fi­nally, the bank en­tered the names and ac­count de­tails man­u­ally. We had to sign about 100 forms agree­ing to the de­tails it had en­tered. It seemed we were fi­nally in busi­ness.

Of course, we weren’t. We filled out the pay­ment de­tails for all 100, pressed “Pay” and were promptly in­formed we couldn’t pay more than 10 at a time.

Back to the In­ter­net bank­ing helpline again. Af­ter half-an-hour we were as­sured it was for our pro­tec­tion. That was the way the sys­tem worked.

So we redo batches of 10. But af­ter three or four batches, the sys­tem ground to a halt. There was “too much ac­tiv­ity” on the ac­count.

Back to the In­ter­net bank­ing helpline and, yet again, they couldn’t help. We’d have to wait un­til the next day. The poor peo­ple we were try­ing to pay would just have to be pa­tient. The sys­tem was pre­vent­ing ac­cess to our money for our pro­tec­tion.

To­tal time for the trans­ac­tion: 17 hours five min­utes, in­clud­ing an hour and 55 min­utes talk­ing to helpline. First im­pres­sions: 2,5/5 Helpline help: 0/5 Bank help: 2/5 Over­all: 0/5 (NB: That’s not an av­er­age). In­dus­trial & Petro­chem­i­cal Con­sul­tants

West­ern Cape

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