Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The perils of online banking ... Grrr!!

UPDATE - see update at end of this post.

I have been using my bank's telephone banking service for several years with absolutely no problem, but thought it would be good to start using the online equivalent, too, specially as I am shortly going to be abroad for several months and it would be easier (and cheaper - remember I am Scottish, he he) to interact with the bank here in the UK when necessary online than on the telephone. Anyway I had it all set-up a week or so ago and it seemed to be working fine.

However I had been told by several telephone helpline people, both from the telephone and online banking helpdesks that the passwords and security codes for the two services were independent of each other. I now discover that this is total nonsense as, according to the lady I have just spoken with at the online telephone helpdesk, when I set up the online service it in fact supercedes the telephone banking password and codes (this is just ten minutes, ten minutes[!], after I had been told by a lady at the telephone banking helpdesk that they are different!!!).

So the scenario half an hour ago was as follows: go online to check my various account balances. No problem - I even printed out a statement for the current account.

Then I tried to log into the telephone banking service to transfer some money between accounts (to settle an interim tax bill before I go abroad), but it wouldn't let me because of password/security code problems (as I now discover because I should have used the same codes as for online banking)!

The result of this fiasco is that I am now locked out of both telephone and online banking until the codes can be reset by 'snail mail' and by telephone. Frankly, Royal Bank of Scotland, this is not a problem I want to have just a few days before I am due to depart for Spain until April! The online banking lady says she is going to make sure there is feedback about giving customers rubbish information (about the interoperativity of password/security codes between the two services). As there is plenty of money in both the accounts that would have been affected by the transfer that started this whole problem, I shall pay the tax bill tomorrow in the old-fashioned way with a cheque at the bank; I simply operate a tax savings account for my own accounting convenience.

Rant over; I'm off to bed! (At least the rotten head cold I've been suffering with for the past 3 or 4 days seems to be on the mend).

UPDATE: (Wednesday 10JAN07 10.20 GMT) Well, the saga continues; I received last Friday the confirmation form which I had to sign and send back to the bank; they apparently did not register it into their computer until yesterday (it is not entirely clear whether they received it yesterday or Monday). In any case, someone at the bank decided to be 'helpful' by requesting that an 'activation code' be sent to me, which another part of the same organisation tells me is completely unnecessary as my signature on the form sent back was adequate to re-activate the account. However, now that the activation code has been reqauested it cannot be stopped so unless it arrives, by some miracle, later today in the post then I simply will not be able to get back online until I get back here in April, nor of course will I be able even to use the telephone banking service. The two departments in The Royal Bank of Scotland that deal with online ('digital') and telephone ('direct') banking hardly seem to talk to each other, the basic reason it seems to me why this whole fiasco has occurred. I'll decide whjat to do about my banking arrangements in the UK when I return in late-April; having banked with them for almost thirty years (my accounts for the ten years prior to that were in London with a small specialised bank) I am reluctant to move, but this recent incident has frustrated me enormously.

On the bright side, however (and I always try and look on the 'bright side' - note cunning reference to Monty Python), I did manage to find locally (in that good old standby shop Woolworths) the two kinds of lithium button cells, CR2025 and CR2032, this morning that I needed for two different pieces of electronic gadgetry I am taking with me and whose back-up cells hadn't been changed for a while.

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