Saturday, November 14, 2009

Too technical and not technical enough, all at once

Overall, I like my bank.

It's one of the leading ones in Costa Rica, so there are branches (and ATMs) in any town of any size. There's a branch two blocks from the girls' school, and I pass about three more on my way to work every day. I can check balances and pay utility & Internet bills online, and I can transfer money to other peoples' accounts (like the girls' school or the landlady), all from the comfort of my very own computer.

Recently, I needed to add a new favorite to my account so I could send money to someone for the first time - to pay for this here hard drive, as a matter of fact. When I tried to, it said the bank was introducing a new layer of security, and that I would need to purchase a special "token" thingy (essentially, a random password generator) and activate it in order to proceed. I was able to use the points I accumulate by paying my bills online in order to pay for the thing, but I still had to go in to the bank to pick it up.


This bank can let me do all that online and without, in my experience, any real errors. But, also in my experience, they really can't manage to update my personal info, so every time I go in to do identity-based stuff, I have to bring my Costa Rican government-issued ID, as well a my three most recent passports - that's the current one, the previous one, and the one I had when I first opened the account 17 years ago.

So I paid for my token with Virtual Points, printed out the bar code thingy, gathered my IDseses, and looked up the hours for the branch at which I had chosen to pick up the token. This bank is so civilized, it even has weekend hours at some of its major branches.

Except, for all their Come And Get Your Random Password Generator Thingy Now Because We Are Awesome And High Tech, the bank did neglect to update its website when the specific branch at which I'm meant to pick up my token thingy stopped having Saturday hours. According to the guy at the coffee shop around the corner, that would have been about six months ago.

Oh, and by the way? One of our clients can't pay his bill because he can't get a token because he's out of the country, so he asked his builder here to pay it for him, and that guy went in and his local branch is out of tokens, with no word when they'll get more in.


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