Technology has made my life (mostly) easier—thank you, IT gods, for that. But there are details that need to be worked out. Take passwords, for example. I’ve now filled three notebooks with secret codes and I sense I’m not alone in this. A thousand years from now, the early 21st century will be one massive code that future generations will have to decipher.
Which leads me to mobile banking and the passwords that people create for EFTs – electronic fund transfers. EFTs are quite wonderful in almost every way. There I am sitting at my desk absorbed in my work, and ping, my computer lights up and someone drops money into my bank account. No waiting for a cheque in the mail, no scanning, signing or stamping, and no chance the cheque gets lost in my purse or ends up with a shopping list scribbled on the back of it.
Please make the ETF clues about me, not you!
But someone needs to get the word out to those who send ETFs that the clues provided to the payee are about me —not them. Case in point: Several months ago, I received a long-awaited cheque . Just when I’m given the “secret question” everything grinds to a halt: The password clue reads: “What’s the name of my dog?”
Your dog? (and I should add, this isn’t even his current dog. It was a family dog that died a few years earlier). Even when I sent an email to ask, I was still pulled into a game of what’s my line: “The name isn’t spelled the traditional way”, he wrote back. “Would you like another clue?” By then my bank login had timed out.
This isn’t an isolated event. I regularly receive cheques from someone who sends me the password question, “How long have I been in business?” (Not me, her). Now understand, this has been going on for over a year so not only do I have to remember the number, but also, I have to do the calculation .
Some have caught on to the name the clue game. One company asks, “What city do you live in?” Thank you! That one I can answer! But I wouldn’t expect anything less—the company in question specializes in productivity.
Where did I go to school? What’s my cat’s name?
Just when I thought things were getting better, I received a series of emails concerning another ETF. The first said an ETF was coming; the second asked if that was that okay with me. Then I get the official bank ETF transfer. Next I got an email enquiring if it had arrived. That’s when I sent back a response to say I need a clue and a password. A fifth email answered, “Yes”.
And at the moment of transfer I got the clue:
“What’s my brother’s name?”
Are you kidding me?
It all got sorted out, of course. And to be fair, the whole process is still more efficient that sending cheques by Canada Post (although I recently also found out that US customers can’t send ETFs into Canadian bank accounts).
It’s all just a reminder that technology may be smart, and will continue to stay smart; but humans (thank goodness) will always remain decidedly human. And in the end, I’m grateful for that, if not sometimes a little frustrated.
NOTE: Ironically this blog was delayed almost two weeks while my website mysteriously disappeared…then reappeared while a gaggle of hosts, developers and IT wizards all tried to help me solve the issue.