On-line banking is good, but not great

While I am happy about all the things I can do on-line with my bank, I concur that they could offer a lot more. Here are a couple of items you can bring up with your bank.

First, I have a situation to add to the one mentioned in Rob Ford’s column. (“Internet banking is a joke,” Feb. 9, 2001, page 14.)

Last summer, I was going to contract some work to someone in a different city. The work was to be delivered electronically, but we could not come up with an electronic way to pay. It would have been nice if he could have just given me an account number (or equivalent) so I could directly deposit the money to his account. This would have been a one-time payment, not a recurring event.

I have heard that in Japan, bank accounts come with two PINs: an “in” PIN and an “out”. You can freely distribute the “in” PIN and anyone who knows it can deposit money to that account. Only the holder of the “out” PIN can remove money from the account.

The second item is this: all that point/click/re-read/confirm stuff when paying bills is tedious and error-prone. Why can’t I prepare a batch of transactions with control totals, and then transmit it all at once? This can be done, but the processing fee is prohibitive for anything less than dozens of transactions at a time. Surely if they can do all that Web programming and process individual transactions at no direct charge to the customer, they can offer access to a batch process that already exists without charging a processing fee.

Marcus Redivo

Sidney, B.C.