The Convenience of Internet Banking
Rushing out the door to a class I teach 20 miles away I thought I’d first quickly pay a bill online.
It’s so convenient, you don’t have to bother going to the bank. Just do it online.
I get it done and rush to my class. Halfway though the class I think to myself, “Hey… didn’t I already pay that bill?”
After my class I rush back home and try to sign on to my email account but for some reason my usual email account is not working so I use Firefox to get to my bank’s Bill Payer and, yes, I did already pay that bill…I try to cancel it and up comes, “Bill is processing, cannot cancel this bill.”
I call the business I wrote the check to and get an answering machine. I leave a message asking them to call me back.
I call the bank and go through the obligatory 10 minute phone tree to get a live person. She asks my name. I give her my name. She asks my account number. I give it to her. She asks my birth day. I give it to her and she says, “I’m sorry sir, that’s not the date we have for you on file.”
“What? I think I know my own birthday.”
“Sorry sir, but you’ll have to come into the bank and change what we have on file.”
“I just drove the 20 miles back home from town.”
“Sorry, sir, if you can’t come in, you’ll have to call this 800 number.”
I call the 800 number and I have to go through another phone tree and I get, “All systems are busy. Please wait,” and I get to listen to commercials while I’m put on hold.
I wait several more minutes and Caller ID tells me the business I wrote the check to is calling back. I switch calls and try to explain to the business that I’ve already paid the bill.
What? You paid the same bill twice?”
“Ahhh…Well…yeah…I guess… I….did… pay the same bill twice.”
“Why’d you do that?”
“Well, I paid it over a month ago and I thought it was new bill that I owe you but I found out too late that I already paid this bill.”
“Okay, we’ll just keep the money for next time.”
“We’ll keep it safe for you here for your next bill.”
I switch back to the bank and I’m still on hold.
Meanwhile, due to all the confusion, I typed the wrong password into my email account and am now locked out of that too.
10 minutes later the bank says, “Sorry for the wait, sir.”
“No problem. I want to cancel a bill I paid 3 hours ago but I can’t seem to sign onto my account.”
“What’s your name?” I give it to her. “What’s your account number?” I give it to her.
What’s your birth day?”
I swallow hard and hope I haven’t forgotten my birth day.
I give her my birth day and expect the whole “Groundhog Day” process to start all over again but this lady says, “Thank you sir. Now you’ll have to logon and change your password.
I try to logon by using Firefox and not using my usual email account. Naturally everything is different and it’s hard to find where anything is. The lady talks me though it and I finally logon and suddenly it hits me, I was using my bank password for my email account and my email account password for my bank.
I have to change both passwords and hope that next time I log on, I remember which is which.
They say you shouldn’t use the same password for all the hundreds of accounts you have online but how many passwords can you remember and where are all the little pieces of paper you’ve written them all down on?
And now you hear there are thousands of viruses that you have to guard yourself against and that some viruses can see every key-stroke you make. They can go onto your online bank and drain your bank account.
How’s that for convenience?