You would think that online banking is great. No more calling on the phone, being put on hold, only to listen to elevator music for the next twenty minutes.
That soon became a thing of the past when automated phone services came about. Now, we go through ten minutes of prompts, and then finally, get to the elevator music. I always loved the 70’s track and would sing along with ABBA’s Dancing Queen whenever it would come on the line.
However, thanks to technology, we can bypass all of that and go straight to the source with a simple user name and password. Armed with those two very important tools, we can now gain access to everything about our bank accounts in a matter of seconds. We can even apply for a loan if we need extra cash without leaving the comforts of our home.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. It used to be as easy as mentioned above, but now, I have to go through an act of congress to access my account. It asked for my user name and password. I gave it and noticed the “remember username,” button underneath remained unchecked.
I have clicked that box so many times it should be saying, “Hey Philippe, she’s back again!” What good is it doing when it doesn’t remember my username?
For some reason, it started asking me my three security questions. Apparently, I answered them incorrectly. It asked for my favorite song and I answered “Dancing Queen.” It told me it was not!
Me: “Is, too.”
Bank: “Is not.”
Me: (retyping) “Dancing Queen.”
Bank: “Wrong answer.”
Me: (repeating it again)
Bank: “That’s not the answer, Lady!”
Me: “YES, IT IS!”
I have to call the bank.
That in itself requires a lot of patience. In order to get a contact phone number, I have to go through a series of online prompts and questions to direct me to the correct number (which used to be a matter of a simple click of the “contact us” button). It’s the same number no matter how you answer the questions. They aren’t fooling anyone.
At long last, several minutes later, I get the number and I call only to be asked to press one for English or two for Spanish. I was held up by more questioning prompts. You know what I mean: “If you’re calling for online banking problems, press or say ‘two.’ If you’re calling to check on a loan or credit card account, press or say...” You get it.
I pressed the respective button(s) and find I must endure a minute and a half of an advertising spiel encouraging me to take out a loan for all of my personal and business needs.
After the end of the spiel, I wait for what to do next, only to find it has started over again. I am so ticked off at this point that about half-way through, to rush things along, I push zero (this prompt is invalid), and it starts the ad all over again.
I waited until the end thinking I must have missed hearing the correct prompt due to the fury that is creating steam and whistling through my ears. Instead, it started over a third time.
I decided to press the number one (rather hammer the button with my finger) to see what would happen. It worked and it connected me to an automated teller who says, “All of our agents are busy now. Your call is important to us so, please hold for the next available agent,” and then 90’s elevator music, 90’s! Where is ABBA?
By now, I’m screaming into the phone. I’m holding on to the receiver so tight, my knuckles are sweating. I yell at it for not playing Dancing Queen and insist that they turn that crap off or else find a human being for me to speak to at once, except I was using some colorful language.
“Who are you talking to?” my husband asks, laughing at me.
“The DJ playing this stupid 90’s elevator music,” I yell. “I want to speak to a person!”
Finally...finally! A live human being comes on the line and asks me the same questions the prompts asked, only to follow it up with asking my security questions, and personal info such as address and phone number associated with the account.
Me: “What is wrong with this bank?!”
Agent: “I’m sorry? What do you mean?”
Me: “I just went through all of these prompts half a day ago trying to get to you and you’ve asked me all of these same questions over again. Why does it bother asking me online if I have to waste time repeating it back to you?”
Agent: “I’m sorry, Ma’am. I do apologize. It’s for security purposes for your protection.”
Me: “Isn’t your web address https: ‘s’ meaning secure?”
Agent: “Yes, Ma’am, it sure is.”
Me: “Well, it’s not very secure at all then if you have to ask me the same question it just asked me to get your phone number, now is it?”
Agent: (She pauses for a second and I hear her smiling on the other line.) “I guess not.”
Me: “Listen, I’m stressed, it’s the holidays, I’m old, and I’m broke. I have been trying for nearly 30 minutes to reach a person I could speak to and instead, I’m yelling at the elevator music DJ I got stuck with. I am very well versed in foul language and I was two seconds from unloading on that DJ and giving him the full experience of my expertise and knowledge in cuss words! I just want one question answered: just one!”
Agent: (Laughs openly now) “What can I help you with, Ma’am?”
Me: “Was I seeing triple three days ago or are there really three zeros in the balance column of my checking account?”
‘Tis the season!