In the words of my friend Dr. Stanley Goodspeed "The World is Being Fedexed to Hell." This quote is from "The Rock" which I saw again last weekend and I was glad I did, because I forgot how fucking awesome it was. But The Rock aside, I love this quote because it makes a whole lot of sense to me when I'm having a day like today.
Online bill pay - its supposed to make our lives easier right? Ha. Now that I'm in my own apartment I'm trying to set up all my bills for online bill pay so that my bill paying will be a) easier b) more immediate. I'm not the most organized individual in the universe so I tend to misplace statements, forget to pay them by the due date or write out checks and stuff them in envelopes, but forget to mail them. So online is the way to go, couple of clicks and the money gets there electronically. It should be so simple...
Pretty much the most important bill I have these days is my mortgage. So I logged on to HSBC to set up online bill pay. That day I logged in and setup my information, but for "security reasons" I couldn't set up a username and password. I was told they would send me a username and password via mail, and I had to use those to log in. So that month, I still had to use my statement and a check and a stamp to pay my bill. Now today, I brought the envelope with my temporary password to work. Only when I'm trying to log on, I realize the letter says that my temporary username was sent to me in a separate letter. Are you kidding me? This isn't fucking Raiders of the Lost Ark. If I wanted to go on a treasure hunt I would do it, but believe me, I don't want to go through fifty steps to pay my mortgage. Do they think they're making my account so much safer by mailing all this crap in separate envelopes? Maybe. But at the same time they're making it a lot harder for me to pay them.
Then there's Time Warner Cable. I set it up to pay online last month, but when I was done I didn't see a confirmation or anything. Ok....uh, so is my bill paid? Or is it set up and now I have to pay it? So a few weeks later I got an email saying my money would be deducted on a certain day. Great. Only today, when I logged on to pay this month's bill, I saw that my account was "deliquent" because I hadn't paid last month's bill. So now I had to fax the confirmation email I received to them to research. Great. How do I know that I'm going to be charged for this bullshit twice?
Bill pay isn't this hard on every site, but it sure is getting funny. On my credit card sites they had me pick out an image from an array of pictures...stuff like high heeled shoes and plastic lawn chairs and beach balls. I pick my image and then pick a phrase to go with it. If that image and phrase does not show up when I log in, I'm on somebody else's page, I guess. But I would guess when I saw the name Miffy Mifferson, that might clue me in too. But whatever.
Here's the bottom line guys. Make online bill pay easy. Allow people to create usernames and passwords that work that day. Allow people to pay the bill that day or the next business day - don't wait until the bill due date to deduct the money. And for christ's sakes - don't offer online bill pay if you're gonna half ass it. I may have to start buying stamps again.
Labels: bills, online banking