Internet banking – when good experience goes bad.
“Improvement means deterioration” – Hutber’s law
This is supposed to be a case study, but as I’ve been a customer of this bank for some years, a certain amount of disappointment is bound to creep in. So, before I begin the rant, the main messages here are:
- An inconsistent user experience confuses users and may cause them to abandon their activity and seek alternatives
- Customers don’t care how your business is organised and want the different areas to behave similarly within the mental model your brand has created
- Adding greater levels of complexity may help security, but will also stop people from using your service
- Your competitor is only too happy to poach your disgruntled customers
I joined the UK’s Co-operative Bank because it has an ethical investment philosophy. Yup, I can be an armchair eco warrior and tut at all the awful things going on in the world, safe in the knowledge that my money doesn’t finance any of them. But maintaining customers’ brand loyalty is a fickle thing when the user experience of online banking goes down the biodegradable compost toilet.
As a user experience professional, there are always irritations with websites and I just have to bite my tongue because (a) sometimes they’re not THAT bad and (b) they’re not my client. The Co-Op’s personal internet banking service has been fine – even ‘good’. But like a number of banks they’ve adopted the use of a card reader device for making online payments. If you’ve never used one it’s the size of a pocket calculator, you insert your debit card, enter your PIN, enter the code the website’s given you, and then enter the code it gives you, back into the original website. So that’s three codes, a card and a card reader. Some banks use this when a customer sets up a payment to a new recipient, but the Co-Op requires it for any payment beyond shuffling money between your own savings accounts.
What do other customers think about the card reader?
@smorgasbord Preposterous. Fails to consider context eg making a quick payment during lunch hour will require a card reader left at home.
@Profb I’ve seen said handheld from Barclays and would leave the bank if they made me use one.
@gzj I think its s**t & negates the whole point of online banking in the first place. Tell them to stop over-complicating everything!
@misslaula They suck! That is all.
Apart from breaking the user’s journey on the site to include offline devices and offline interaction, the level of total security needed before I can make a payment becomes overbearing, especially when compared with that needed to make a payment from the Co-Op’s internet business banking.
Personal: Sort code; account number; first randomly selected digit from security code; second randomly selected digit from security code; random piece of personal security information; PIN into card reader; input code into card reader; output code from card reader. Total = 8
Business: User name; password. Total = 2.
As @smorgasbord also points out above, whereas I used to quickly do my banking wherever I was, I now need to carry the card reader around – and I’m definitely not going to use it in a client’s office. The personal result of this means I’ve missed another company’s credit card payment, been charged, ramped up more debt and probably received a black mark on my credit record.
Continuing in my online/offline theme, as the user experience becomes the brand experience, after my third phone complaint about the compulsory use of the card reader my promised 24 hour call back to hear my concerns came 48 hours later and, like the card reader, while I was at work, so couldn’t answer and never got to speak to anyone.
If this is about creating a secure online banking environment rather than belt, braces, pegs, staples and helium balloons attached by strings to trousers in an effort to keep them up, surely the bankers are clever enough to work out a more elegant solution? Hmmm … maybe history tells us not and maybe they should employ some good user experience consultancy (I know I’ve got a few choice words for the industry).
So … Nationwide … I understand you don’t use these card readers … tell me about your online services…
The Long DogTags: case study, internet banking, UCD, User-Centered Design, User-Centred Design, UXD, web design