Why Is It SO HARD to Deal With Banks Nowadays? Grrrrrr!
Breathe……breathe….. My face is red, I’m sweating even though it’s 12C outside and my blood pressure is up. This is the 40 billionth phone call I’ve had to make to the bank in the last 10 days.
It all started a few months ago when I received a notification that my business banking token (which I’ve had for about 5 years) was going to expire and that I needed to order a new one. Which I did. Which never turned up. Which prompted more notifications of its’ impending demise. So I called Westpac and spoke to someone who said they would organise a new one to be sent out. I only need the security token when I’m paying someone I’ve never paid before.
The security token arrived a week before we flew to Bali and I followed the instructions to activate on-line. It said it was activated. I scheduled our employee’s wages and an urgent bill the night before we left. Fast forward a few days into our trip overseas and we find out none of the employees were paid when one of them called my husband. The second I got wi-fi in our hotel that we had just arrived, at I logged onto my Westpac account and see that the payment is “partially approved” whatever the hell that meant. So I scrolled and clicked and investigated and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to go through.
I didn’t have international calls set up on my phone so I used my husband’s phone to call the bank, went through the process of entering my customer ID, my pin number, then explained what had happened to be told I’d have to be transferred to the business on-line banking team and was put on hold. And cut off. Over and over and over again. Each time I called back I pleaded with them to write down the number so they could call ME back if it continued to happen but no one ever called me back.
By this stage, it was 3pm. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I was hot and tired and frustrated while my husband swam laps in the pool wisely keeping his distance. Finally, finally, finally I managed to get through to the on-line team after having to re-explain over and over and over and they asked me for the number of the security token because apparently it wasn’t activated properly. I said OMG, I didn’t bring it with me, I’m on holidays. Can’t you just push a button your end to make this payment go through? None of the payees are even NEW. No, sorry, we can’t do that. The only thing we can do is set up your phone to receive SMS alerts instead of using the token. Fine, whatever, do that. Do whatever you have to do.
So he asked me some questions, typed some stuff his end and then said it was now set up. On my husband’s phone (who doesn’t even know who we bank with). But…..he says, to finish the setting up, you will have to use a computer to go online and finish the activation. Umm, I’m on holidays – I don’t have a computer. Well, sorry but this won’t work on a phone, you’ll need a computer. FFS. So I went to reception and asked them if I could borrow their computer, thankfully they agreed and I logged on, pressed some buttons and the payment finally went through.
Then we get home. My husband goes off to work. I have to pay a bill to someone new. Shit. The SMS will go through to HIS phone so I call him while I’m doing it. He’s driving, has to pull over, recite me the code and I realise I have to fix this shiz.
Call the bank again. This time after entering my customer ID and my pin code they tell me I will have to answer some security questions that were not asked while I was overseas. I’m staring at my bank accounts whilst logged in and she asks me to tell her what accounts I have so I recite them off one by one while looking at them. She puts me on hold for 15 minutes and comes back and says sorry, you didn’t answer the security questions properly, you’ll have to go into a branch. I said uhhh, yes I did – you asked me what accounts I have and I told you because I’m. Staring. At. Them. As. We. Speak. No, according to us that’s incorrect. I said so ask me some more security questions. No, I can’t do that.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
So I drive down to the bank with my security token, go up to the teller and explain what’s happening and she says I’ll set you up with a personal banker who can help you. Take a seat. 15 minutes later I’m ushered into the office of someone who was about as friendly as Hitler and told to take a seat. I explain the situation all over again including my frustration thus far and this guy literally just stares blank-eyed at me without a single grunt of anything remotely sympathetic.
He asks me for proof I bank with them so I hand over my ATM card. Then he asks for photo ID so I hand over my licence. He punches in the details to his computer and said well what do you want me to do? I said either re-activate the security token which I am waving in my hand, or set up my phone for SMS codes. He says, your phone is already listed here. I said well it doesn’t work. He said did you try it? I said yes I did, as I explained to you earlier I had to pay someone new today and the code goes to my husband’s phone.
He said but that was while you were in Bali. No. It was TODAY.
Well, why can’t you use your husband’s phone? Because……he doesn’t do the banking! And he wasn’t there! Well, what do you want me to do? OMG. Change it to the security token. But you don’t have a security token he says. Umm, what’s this in my hand? Well, it isn’t listed on your account. Sigh. OK, fine, whatever – make it MY phone. But you’re already listed here. But IT DOESN’T WORK. So he’s looking at me like I’m a complete moron and then asks me for my phone number (which he already said was listed), types it in and lo and behold I get an instant SMS saying it’s worked. DOH. What he doesn’t tell me is that I will still have to log-in on a computer like I did in Bali to complete it but I worked that out when I got home.
Fast forward to today. I have the end of month bills to pay. I get to the three last bills and up pops a message “this payment may be delayed”. Same message for each of them. WTF? I go to my scheduled payments and they all say they will be paid tomorrow instead of today. What? Why?
So another phone call to the bank. Enter my customer ID and my pin code. When someone finally answers me he says I’ll need to ask you some security questions. I said what’s the point in entering a customer ID and a pin code then? He says your pin code was incorrect. I said no it isn’t. I can even still see what I entered as we speak. He says well no it came up our end wrong. Fine! Ask me the security questions.
What bank accounts have you got? I very slowly through gritted teeth recite them all as I’m staring at them. OK, what regular payments go into one of your accounts, which account and how much? I’m thinking I don’t bloody know…..but given I was logged in, I looked at our mortgage account and told him how much it was and on what dates. Then he wanted to know 5 recent transactions and how much they were and on what date. Clearly, if I’m logged in, I know ALL the answers to all these questions but if I wasn’t, how the hell would I know exact amounts and dates? So I answered that and then he asked me what was the outstanding balance on my visa? And how much was our mortgage and how much was in our GST account? Thankfully I passed this time but I got the distinct impression that he was disappointed that I did because now he’d actually have to talk to me.
I explain that the last 3 payments wouldn’t go through for some reason. He says that’s because they’re scheduled for tomorrow. Yeah, I know that, but why? Why didn’t they go through today? Because you put in tomorrow’s date he says. No, I didn’t. Well, you must have, he says. I said, I’ve been doing this for a long time, I know there’s a whole other box you have to access to change the date and I’m telling you, I didn’t do that and that’s why a message popped up saying there was going to be a delay! He says well I’ll have to transfer you to our specialist business team (even though I called the business number, and pressed ‘2’ for business customer). Waited on hold for 15 minutes to learn the first guy never bothered to explain any of the situation OR tell him I’d already passed the security ID questions. Are you fucking serious? Turns out they had changed my daily limit when swapping me from a security token to an SMS code and Didn’t. Tell. Me.
Don’t these banks realise that’s it’s OUR money they are holding? WE keep them in business with OUR money. I realise they have to be cautious when dealing with on-line enquiries so they don’t give out the wrong information to the wrong people but seriously? How about instead of training your employees to act like robots, you give them some people skills and teach them to use some common sense when dealing with their customers?
Lift your game, Westpac. Lift your game.