Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mobile Banking

Several months ago, I decided that it was time to try my financial institution’s “mobile banking” service. It promised real-time balance updates, overdraw notices, and a rudimentary level of fraud protection all for the reasonable price of free. So, after logging in and registering my phone number, I selected the events I felt warranted a text message and slipped my newly-empowered iPhone back into my pocket.

It was several weeks before I received my first alert. It was a “balance threshold” notice informing me that my checking account had fallen below the $100 level I had specified when registering for the service. Even more unsettling, the message said that as a result of a recent transaction my available balance was now $0.00.

I immediately panicked since I had deposited my paycheck less than 24 hours prior and purchased nothing more substantial than a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger in that same time period. Either someone had illegally gained access to my meager holdings or my wife had finally decided to clean out our joint checking account and find someone who didn’t own season 1 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Rushing home, I found that both my wife and my paycheck were exactly where I expected to find them and that I did not have a zero balance. Incensed, I called my bank’s customer service line and reported the discrepancy. The employee was sympathetic to my plight and walked me through several steps to re-register my phone while make changes on the bank’s notification subsystem. I was issued an apology and the assurance that this would not occur again.

Several weeks passed until I received the exact same “poverty-notification” while shopping at Kroger. Again, there was much trepidation and hand-wringing until I was able to confirm that the notification was mistaken and I still had several hundred dollars left in the affected account. Even a free service wasn’t worth this. So, again I called my bank’s help line and was connected to a customer service specialist. I suspect our conversation will be played at the company Christmas party:

Me: “Yes, for the second time in a month I have received a notification that my checking account is empty when in fact it contains a positive balance. They have tried resetting the notification system and re-registering my phone to no avail and with all due respect I am tired of needlessly wetting myself every time this institution pages me.”
Bank – “We certainly apologize for the inconvenience (she did not specify whether she was referring to the false positive or my lack of bladder control) and I will look into this if I can place you on a brief hold.”
Me – “Sure”
Bank – “I see what has happened. It appears that a refund was issued to your account by a local merchant. Does that sound possible?”
Me – “I think my wife did take something back to the store at some point today but why would a credit trigger a zero balance alert?”
Bank – “When someone issues a refund on your debit card it triggers the alert.”
Me – “Oh. Do you have a timetable as to when this will be fixed?”
Bank – “I am sorry sir, I don’t understand.”
Me – “I am asking if you have any idea when the glitch will be fixed.”
Bank – “Sir, that is the way the system is designed.”
Incredulous pause
Me – “You are telling me that the system was specifically designed to alert a customer that money was deposited into their account by sending them a text message that they are destitute? Am I your only customer that finds this illogical?”
Bank – “Sir, would you like to file a formal complaint about this?”
Longer incredulous pause
Me – “I cannot believe I even have to say this, but yes I would like to file a formal complaint and request that I not be deliberately misinformed about my balance.”
Bank –“Very well sir, is there anything else I can assist you with today?”

Afraid that if my bank attempted to assist me any further I would begin receiving notifications that my account had been closed each time I use an ATM, I simply responded that she had done enough.
I can only hope that the same programmers that created my bank’s notification system don’t branch out into other fields. Can you imagine their product line-up?

Home Security Systems – If everything was fine, the homeowner would receive a message that read “Structure Fire Detected – Pets Unresponsive”

Package Delivery Tracking – When your Amazon box was placed safely on your porch the text message would be “Item Damaged by Urine, Thrown from Delivery Truck”

Automotive Dealership Alerts – The complimentary oil change notice would be translated to “Truck Safety Recall, Advised to Avoid Utilizing Left Turn Signal While Listening to FM Radio”

Medical Alert Services – At the conclusion of a normal blood-pressure reading the attending physician would be paged with “Patient Dead – Immediately Family Notified via Twitter”

1 comment:

  1. Heya i’m for the first time here. I love your writing so so much! proportion we communicate extra approximately your article on AOL? I need a specialist on this space to unravel my problem. Customers using Android phones need to download State Bank FreedoM application from Google Play Store. Mobile banking in kostenloses girokonto is a system that allows customers of a financial institution to conduct a number of financial transactions through a mobile device such as a mobile. thanks


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