So I have a couple of credit cards. I use online banking to pay them off every month (a word to the wise kids: KEEP THAT BALANCE AT ZERO!).
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Bank XYZ stating that they were “changing the way we do things” and instead of answering a security question or three (which, by the way, they reset annually) you would now be texted a code number to your mobile device to be able to conduct your online business. As a side note, I really do wonder what the fuck people who do not have a “mobile device” are supposed to do. Are they simply the new untouchables, denied the ability to pay a credit card balance because they choose not to own a fucking cell phone? This strikes me as fertile ground for an ADA or senior citizen class action suit.
So this morning, I get up at 5:30 and see a reminder that today is the day I have set to pay off the card balance at Bank XYZ. I log in with my user name and incredibly convoluted password and am confronted with a screen that says they will send a confirmation code to a phone number that has not been mine for years (I mean YEARS). There is no way around this confirmation code devil. I cannot even access customer service until I log in and… CONFIRM MY IDENITY using a phone number that is in the hands of some poor innocent who is (if there is any justice in this world) being deluged with notices of failed log in attempts.
No human can be accessed until 7AM to discuss this issue with, so I now have an hour and some odd number of minutes to attempt to distract myself from what is now the very center of my existence.
At 7AM sharp I call the “contact us if you are having trouble logging in” number and explain my issue. I am in luck. I only have to explain the problem to the first person I talk to twice. I am then transferred to the IDENTITY CONFIRMATION CENTER (now is that Orwellian sounding as hell or what?) where I am informed I will be asked five (5) questions about my past. Without going into detail, I did answer all 5 correctly – but I was left wondering JUST HOW THE HELL DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW ALL THIS SHIT ABOUT ME? Some of the questions I answered concerned actions/details that went back decades – long before I was a customer at this bank and, in my opinion, were none of their business. Mind you, all this is simply to correct a phone number in their database that they failed to erase or overwrite when they went to their new system of texting you a code to your mobile device. In point of fact, when I was transferred back to the first person whom I had spoken with, she confirmed that my current number was the one she had listed (and no, I did not press her on that, among the many jobs I had at IBM, one of them was database analyst, and I am all too familiar with data that embeds into a database that, much like Melville’s Great White Whale, surfaces from time to time simply to send your Pequod to Davey Jones’ locker).
In any event, a code was sent to my cell phone, which I was required to read to the call taker, who then approved adding my current number to the call list (and yes, the old number is still there, in the list of numbers, much like a sinister spider waiting to pounce upon and consume my present number). Selecting the correct number then led to another code being sent to my phone, which I typed into the now tiresome log-in page and miracle of miracles, I was now “in” my account and free to PAY THE BANK THE BALANCE ON THE CARD. Yep, all this bullshit so I can give them money. This is not the 21st century I was looking forward to, and I have no doubt the democrats are responsible for this – although I am probably giving them too much credit as I doubt they are smart enough to figure out something as convoluted and devious as what I went through to pay a bill.
Have a good morning. I doubt mine will get any worse at this point. Maybe.