This is the sequel to “My Bank May Have Smoked Crack”
In an interesting turn of events, I find my self in the United Kingdom. Before travelling, I made sure I applied for Internet Banking, and got a hardware password generator as well, which was supposed to make it possible for me to transfer money from my account to virtually any other bank. Nice.
Foolishly however, I didn’t test to make sure everything was in order before travelling. I just assumed it had to be ok.
I was partly right. Everything worked fine, up to the point where I needed to transfer money to an account other than mine. This is the part where I need to use the hardware password generator. Shouldn’t be any trouble there. I select transfer to third-party. Fill in the account number details, and then I notice an odd looking field. “Answer your secret question” It says. Since when did I have a secret question?
I log out, go back to login, tell them I forgot my password, it asks me for my secret question so that it can allow me to reset my password. I don’t know what the secret question is, so I can’t answer it. Helpfully, there is a button which says “send me a reminder about my secret question”. I push that button. Moments later, I get an email.
Your secret question is: “Two hours, Two days after Christmas”. Ah! I remember, I was a teenager when I set that as my secret question. But this is supposed to be a new set of login details! What is that super old secret question still doing in my account?
Up to this point, my bank has done nothing wrong. Why then do I think they smoked even more crack? The answer can be found in subtle cues hidden in the following sentences and paragraphs.
I have sent up to 4 emails to different addresses in the bank, and about 4 days later, I have got a reply to none.
Normally password-related things shouldn’t be done via email. You are right. I have called their customer care centre, which works quite nicely, but due to no fault of theirs (conspiracy theory here) my calls get terminated whenever I mention something from the set “password, internet, bank, detail” while calling a Nigerian number. I think these guys now have computers listening to telephone calls looking for signs of fraud, and I suppose my peculiar case would sound like fraud to an idiotic robot. No, this is not a crack smoking bank… maybe a robot that needs to be taught some manners, or shut down entirely. Or maybe I need to wake up and stop dreaming up conspiracy theories.
Being sand-boxed in this land as it seems, I decide that the next logical thing to do is to call the UK Branch of my bank. One google search later, I have a phone number for GTBank UK. Nice. At least they have a contact point for me somewhere around here.
One minute later, I am talking to an Internet Banking agent. Neat. In a few moments, I will discover that GTBank UK is not a “branch” of GTBank Nigeria, but an entirely Independent bank. Hmmm. They don’t deal with any issues regarding their Nigerian cousin, and No, I cannot access my Nigerian account from there.
Sensors detect some dangerous levels of baloney here.
Why on earth is it called GTBank UK if it is not an extension of the Nigerian operation meant to bring relief to the Nigerian sojourner in the UK? Maybe I was over-assuming yet again.
The final quip, which may be obvious to you if you are an IT person is this: If you know your password, you are supposed to be able to change everything, INCLUDING your secret question and answer. Who on this amazing planet got paid millions (possibly in hard currency) to design and implement this system who thought it wise to not allow an innocent user like me to change his secret question and answer online? He’s probably chilling in some Carribean island. Thanks to you, I’ve got my password, yet I am still locked out of some parts of my account.
Let me stop there. Enough frustration vented. I wonder if this will influence anyone remotely involved to seek for improvement…
Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain, a starship also runs on loyalty to one man. And nothing can replace it or him. — Spock, “The Ultimate Computer”, stardate 4729.4