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Keith Appleyard - available for hire

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A place to share stuff that isn't at all fintec related but is amusing, absurd or scary.

Barclays On-line Banking deserves better error messages

02 January 2014  |  2407 views  |  1

Yesterday 1st January I logged in to Barclays Internet Banking as usual, to make a payment to a new Payee. When I progressed to submit the payment, I got an error message no.6 "we have technical issues, please try again later".

Thinking the service might be down for planned outages on it being New Years Day, I waited 5 hours and tried again, and got the same answer. When I tried again on Thursday 2nd January during normal banking hours, I still got the same answer.

I didn't want to call the 0845 service number, because I didn't want to be held in a queue for many minutes when I'm paying the 12p a minute, as it soon mounts up.

I escalated the matter via Twitter and by Webchat; in both instances I was asked whether I had logged on via PINSentry, because error message 6 apparently indicates that "the client has not logged on with PINSentry but is trying to perform a service that necessitates PINSentry".

Meanwhile, I tried to make a payment to a pre-existing Payee, and this went through perfectly well, so I decided to make the requisite payment via a third party account.

When we performed the equivalent task with Internet Banking with Royal Bank of Scotland, they were able to point out that the Sort Code was incorrect (upon inspection the last digit had been transcribed wrongly). 

What made it ironic was that the erroneous Sort Code was a Barclays one; something that Royal Bank of Scotland was able to detect and accurately report on, but not Barclays themselves?

Obviously Barclays need to update the script for their Help Desk personnel to reflect that error code 6 "technical difficulties" can also mean "data error invalid sort code", but I would have thought it would be helpful to customers & staff if the attempt to make a payment to an invalid sort code (probably a very common error) merits a more informative error message? 

TagsMobile & onlinePayments

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 06 January, 2014, 15:44

Fully agree. It's friction like this that is stunting the growth of ePayments and making people - me included - to go back to cheques. Apart from A2A, you can see similar examples on bill payment and other NetBanking screens. From personal experience, fixing these friction hot spots is not very hard and results in a manifold increase in NetBanking usage by existing customers as well as in acquisition of new customers.

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Keith Appleyard

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Ketharaman Swaminathan