Online Banking is NOT Ready in a Microwavable Minute

We’ve all seen those commercials where the lady of the house is about to sit down and pay her bills online, but first she puts a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave and sets it on automatic.

(You’ll notice they don’t show you exactly how much time that popcorn is popping.)

The point of the exercise is that she finishes paying her bills before the popcorn comes out of the microwave. This is to illustrate how instantaneous and easy online banking is.

What they don’t show you, is that in order to set up the account so that it functions in this manner, first you have to input all the vendor’s information. Depending on how many bills you pay this could take up to one hour.

You have to type in the vendor’s name, complete street address, your account number and a contact telephone number for each vendor. One at a time. Individually.

They do not allow you to add multiple vendors on one screen, but make you go through an arduous process involving several steps for each vendor.

Now, you are ready to begin your online banking “experience”. Once you have your vendor’s information available, you must sign on to the banking website. (This is the part that really bugs me.)

It is never as instantaneous as they show you on TV. Did you ever notice that in spy movies all the high technology works perfectly, instantly, and without a glitch?

How often does this happen to you? I know that unless you’re James Bond, you don’t score a cell phone that comes on instantaneously, and you don’t sit down at your laptop, flip open the cover, pat your touchpad and voilÃ? ! you’re online. It just doesn’t happen.

Another huge bone I have to pick with the commercial, they never show her entering this information into her check register. You can’t tell me that she is walking around with a checkbook that is now hundreds of dollars out of balance.

At some point in time, she is going to have to sit down and enter that information into her checkbook so she knows how much money she has in the bank.

But the commercial never takes that time into consideration. After she is finished paying her bills, she slams down the cover on the laptop and off she goes to watch her movie.

Easy Complaint Resolution- there is a bright side….

Recently my doctor’s office sent me a past due notice for a bill I had paid through online banking. I called to let the doctor’s office know that it was paid and they asked me to provide verification.

When I called the bank to ask for a copy of the payment, the customer service representative took the information and faxed my doctor’s office the proof of payment that day. The next day I made a follow-up call to the doctor’s office to verify that they had received the proof of payment.

It turns out, their accounts receivable department had accidentally posted a payment to the wrong patient’s account. They fixed the error and my account was marked paid in full.

They thanked me for helping to clear up their billing question, then remarked on how pleased they were with the prompt response from my bank.

All in all, online banking IS easy, once you set up your vendor database. And, it IS reliable and safe, as shown by their response to my problem with the doctor’s bill.

One thing it IS NOT. It IS NOT ready in a microwavable minute!

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