Everyday Usability

Saturday, June 03, 2006

telephone menu ABN

A signature is apparently not regarded as safe enough to do creditcard payments. Instead in many countries the creditcard has to be verified with a pincode. As I have never used my pincode for my creditcard before, I forget what it is. Because there are so many people like me, my bank decided to send a letter to remind us how to receive a new pincode. For that I had to dial an 0900 number and go through several menu choices. To go through the menu I not only needed my 16-digits long creditcard number, but also an access-code. Apparently, the bank always suggests new creditcard holders to give their mothers birth date as the access code and I gathered that that must be the way I set my accescode too. However, after three successive trials, in which I tried three different combinations of 4 digits to write my mothers birth date I didn't succeed. Fortunately, at that point a human operator took over the conversation from the computer. She also asked me for the accesscode, to which I replied that I must have forgotten it. She urged me to state day, month and year of my mothers birthdate, and sure enough it was the right code. Only then I realised the mistake I had made. I had falsely assumed that the accesscode is a 4 digit code. However, it is longer. Unfortunately I still don't know how long it should be (dd-mm-yy, or dd-mm-yyyy), but at least I can give it another try the next time I call the creditcard service number.

There is a way in which the bank could have made this all much easier for me. And that is simply to state, in the menu, how long they expect the access code to be. It is done in many other telephone menus I have come across, and I wonder why they didn't in this one. It would have saved both me and them some time and trouble.