We all appreciate the need for security but are the banks going too far? Is a security system designed to protect you from fraud or the banks from responsibility for their mistakes?

The “Tale Of A High Street Bank”

A customer used a debit card on a joint account to pay for an airline ticket online. The website looked genuine and appeared secure but whilst going through check out the payment site hung-up. The website said that as the booking hadn't been completed a service charge would be added and the ticket price may change. It also transpired that a £100 cancellation fee might be charged if payment wasn’t completed. The customer thought it might have been a scamming site and didn’t try again.

After an in depth search online, there were other customers who had the same issue with extra charges. The customer phoned their High Street Bank to cancel the transaction. You would think that warning a High Street Bank of a possible fraudulent transaction would be made easy for one of their customers.

The call started a 50 minute chain of events which started with the security basics, then the telephone access questions, then the online questions. This then led to a transfer through to the fraud department and eventually the cancellation of the joint account debit card the banks advice was that as the card details had been entered a payment could be requested at a later date by the online website if they were scammers.

Time consuming but so far so good!

However, the other account holder tried to get out some cash and discovered the High Street Bank had cancelled that card and not the right customers! After another call and 30 minutes of security questions the High Street Bank acknowledged their error and sent, very soon after, new cards.

Lesson one - security and personal ID is only as good as the system operator who takes the call and manually inputs the various corrective actions.

The “Tale Of An Online Bank”

The Bank has an excellent telephone centre reputation but the customer hasn't had cause to use it for years having always used the online access and services. The customer had searched the online site for a form but couldn't find it anywhere so gave them a call. 

An excellent service operator asked for the customer's name and postcode. The customer provided the operator with their basic details and then explained that all they needed was the Online Bank to send them a form to complete or to tell where it could be downloaded. 

Unfortunately as the customer had started the Customer identification process, they were told it had to be completed or the customer’s account would be locked !

When the customer got to the telephone password, they explained that they couldn't remember it as it hadn't been used in years. No way out of the process though so the customer was asked for 3 guesses.  After guessing incorrectly, the operator was able to access a further series of security questions to reset the telephone and online account access. There had never been any issue with online access but the customer now needs to remember a new password. 

Once completed, the operator explained that she couldn't find or access the form and needed to pass the customer to another service.

So, after some more security questions the customer was told that because the customer wanted a form for their partner, who was at work they couldn’t help.

The whole process took nearly an hour and the customer left having achieved nothing and not even a blank form!

Lesson two - security screening must be appropriate to the customer request/outcomes. 

Security is very important, we all agree!  However, the banking security system must be able to meet the customers needs and be flexible enough to allow the bank staff to conduct different tasks at different levels of security. 

Our modern IT will allow a customer to access information, forms, services, advice as well as the right support departments having provided an appropriate amount of information.  We will save you time and the bank money by asking the right questions at the right time and in the right context.  

Have you got any bugs or gripes you want us to try to address? Let us know by doing the survey on the home page or filling in the comments form below this blog - we are keen to try to make it a better experience for you when you contact our future services.