About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

25 May 2012

Conclusion of the FNB Debacle

After my last post, I sent an email to FNB's Paypal department asking about the progress in resolving the problem. 2 Days later, I got an email stating the technical problems have been resolved, and I should try to recreate the account (for the third time).

That doesn't mean the account was immediately active - first they had to reauthorise for FICA (didn't need to send the document, but still an email asking to be authorised - 1/2 a day), then after linking my account wait another day for that to be authorised.

Interestingly enough, I could draw the funds out of my Paypal account, and the process itself is interesting (basically doing a "payment" to FNB) - will still have to wait for it to appear on my bank account ... but at least it's progress.

I am not converting to FNB though ... and their 10 minute promise is vapourware ...

20 May 2012

FNB's Mythical 10 Minutes

Last November, I bought a great T-Shirt from Teefury, which unfortunately never arrived (the first instance of that happening). Given that it was the Christmas season, and I was then away, I contacted Teefury late in March on the matter, who promptly refunded me. However, it did not refund on my credit card, but on my Paypal account (which I used as the mechanism to pay). A week later, I got an email from Paypal, stating that due to SA regulations, I could not spend that money - but rather, I have to withdraw the money. After a quick email and a phone call from the Paypal service desk; it emerged that Paypal only keeps the credit card transaction for 2 months, and thus the need for this convoluted process.

And this is where FNB comes in - even though I don't need a FNB account, I have to deal with FNB to get my money out of Paypal. FNB has blanketed the airways with their "Steve ads" on how great and innovative FNB is, and there is even one ad that claims that opening up a FNB account will take 10 minutes ... so I expected a rather quick and painless process.

Going to the FNB site, typing in my details did take my less than 10 minutes. Although, their forms are rather stupidly put together. For example, the country code for phone numbers defaults to Afghanistan and not South Africa on Firefox, and they still want a "0" in front of the dialling code ... when putting in a phone number in international format; there is no "0"! I even got an SMS (11 Apr, 20h38) confirming that I am registered. But I could not log on; or reset my password, or register another account - I had no email or further instructions on what I needed to do ... so I was a bit lost. I decided to bother with it another day ...

The another day happened to be Friday afternoon (13 Apr), when I called the call centre. After going through the loops (like giving my ID number twice ... where is the consistency in systems?); I was informed that I needed to "verify" my account for RICA purposes; and that the details would be emailed to me in the next hour (notice, 10 minutes has now long gone). After about 2 hours, when I still had no emails from FNB, I sent them an email through the web contact interface ... (13 Apr, 19h22).

The whole weekend passes (who needs banking over the weekend?) - on Monday morning (16 Apr 09h18), I get an email with a list of things to verify. The most amusing was a scanned copy of a "certified copy of my ID". Has anyone thought through this ... how on earth is this more secure and verifiable than just a standard scanned copy of my ID? Due to various reasons (like being out of office on meetings), I only get round to submitting this on Thursday afternoon (19 Apr, 14h01). The verification takes almost a full day, with a confirmation on Friday (20 Apr, 11h56). I try to log in, but cannot - and promptly reply back stating so (20 Apr, 13h54). Before emailing back, I try all the options - resetting my password and even calling the help desk and then hanging up when I am told that a charge of "R50 will be levied" to reset the password (which I know is correct, and the website doesn't work). Try that for service!

There is no response; so on Monday evening (23 Apr, 17h32) I ask again. On Tuesday, I am asked to try again (24 Apr, 11h08) and an email conversation ensues with screenshots showing errors. Still nothing. Finally, someone calls me on 02 May (yes a whole week later), and asks me to re-register (as they have an apparent problem with their wonderfully innovative system). While I do re-register, I can't actually still log on (02 May, 14h53).

2 days later, I get an email (04 May 11h51), I am told that the problem has be escalated ... I haven't heard from FNB since. In the interim, I have lost all interest - my 30 days to withdraw money from Paypal has long passed (it is coming close to 2 months now). It wasn't a lot of money in either case; so it is not a massive loss ... but it is the principle. And FNB's magical 10 minutes? It takes 24 hours to get verification approved - how the hell do they promise 10 minutes to a functional account for a new customer? Their iPad app, and eBucks for fuel really did tempt me to considering switching; but the customer service has shown it is nothing new. In fact, it has shown that they can't really deliver what they promise.