Between the business, our personal accounts, my mother’s finances, and another organization, I work with accounts at 2 credit unions, 3 large banks, and one regional bank. Which means I have the pleasure (?) of bouncing between SIX different Online Banking websites.
I’m a graphic designer by background, not an accountant, so I’ve found the experience challenging, to say the least. But I thought our readers might like to compare notes, so here are some of my general observations:
- No two sites are even remotely alike. The hoops I have to jump through on one site are completely different on the next.
- All of them have improved over the years, but all of them change, continuously – which can be maddening.
- Some seem to purposely do things to make using their site difficult, while others seem to better understand the need to be user friendly.
- Two of the sites ALWAYS claim they don’t recognize my computer. I have to then get a code sent to my email just to be able to log on. I’m not sure if I should be happy about this or not? The codes arrive promptly, but it would be easier not to go through this every time I attempt to log on. Does it means these sites have better/tighter security? Should I worry about the other sites?
- Most sites allow for some alerts, but most are pretty general such as; a daily balance alert, low balance, balance exceeding a certain amount, etc. The option to set alerts for certain types of transactions or a maximum amount on a transaction is useful. One site in particular has really good options to set up alerts, and they work too. Our son was studying in Spain a few years ago, so we added him to our credit card and let him take it with him (for emergencies). I was able to set an email alert on all foreign transactions. At 5:30 AM one morning I received an alert that the card had been used at a perfumerie in Madrid. My son was studying in Barcelona and a fragrance purchase seemed a little odd. I texted him (it was 11:30 AM in Spain). He had not used the card. Due to the alert, I was able to prevent any further fraudulent use of the card.
- The type size on one of the sites is really, really small – are they trying to drive away older users?
- Some sites seem to want to “hide” your online statements. This should be prominent and obvious. Downloading statement is one of the main reasons I use these sites.
- One site is determined to MAKE me set up a budget. (At least I haven’t figured out how to make the option go away.) I think it’s a great service to offer, but it isn’t my main account so I’d like to be able to turn it off. Another site also offered a budget planning tool and they harassed me with email about it for a couple months. But eventually those emails stopped and I don’t have to continue “clicking through” every time I log on.
- At least one site seems to want to “trick” you into paying off your Current Balance on your credit card instead of just your Statement Balance. The Curent Balance is far more prominent and I’ve paid it by mistake more than once. (Hmm, I guess it’s working!)
- This same site used to have multiple approvals for your payment. Twice I thought I’d paid the card only to find out I hadn’t clicked through it enough times. (“Pay my card” ,“Yes, I really want to pay my card”, “No really, I want to pay my card!”) It must have been a problem for a lot of users, because they fixed it pretty quickly when I called, and didn’t penalize me either time I thought I’d paid it. But I had to take the time to make the calls.
- Some sites make it difficult to actually see your transactions. You can easily find the Current Balance, the Statement Balance and even the previous Statement Balance, but finding the actual list of transactions is tedious.
- Sadly, I actually have one account where I’ve never even been able to get online. They sent me a really nice email offering an incentive to sign up for online banking. When I tried to sign up, I got an error message telling me to call them. I don’t use this particular account much anyway, so I’ve never bothered to call.
Okay, need to pay some bills now. “Stay tuned” for other observations about having to use so many FI sites.
- Too many home banking sites, too little time - September 3, 2014
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