First Direct Failure

I have been a customer since the early 1990’s – I love this company – not only do they produce the best ads…

…but they have traditionally offered the best customer service – what other bank (or any type of company for that matter!) answers your call within just a few rings?

However I’m sad to report their first failure.

Now we all know that the world is becoming too Americanized – not just the way they want us to spell words such as Americanised(!) but also the culture of suing companies because you’re too dumb to take responsibility for your own actions – well First Direct (and the rest of the UK banking industry no doubt) have fallen into the trap too!

As the growth in mobile access to data grows traditional “conservative” companies are seeking to grab their share – unfortunately unlike Walmart which is aiming to get rid of chip and pin in 2 years time they’re simply loading layers of supposed security – one on top of another. If I want to use their mobile app I need to have a password for that, I need another one for their website and yep you guessed it another one for their phone service….er, whatever happened to supposed customer benefit of a true multi-channel relationship with your trusted partners?

And that’s what at the heart of the matter – they don’t trust us anymore!

This lack of trust will lead to customer defections – or customer “churn” as some would have it. Right now I’m seriously considering my position as a First Direct customer. I’ll give you an example of this lack of trust:

I wanted to set up a regular payment to my son’s account – it’s for his monthly allowance. I’ve previously been able to do this, no problem, online or over the telephone and having set it up I could then use it via the phone or the web…but now we have mobile in the mix so FD have decided they need to use that to make things easier for us make things more secure – allegedly.

  • I could if I wanted use the telephone and set up that payment and then if I chose to phone them again to make another payment to my son’s account they’d do that over the phone
    • But it won’t be visible online….
  • To arrange a web based payment it takes a bit more time, effort and you need multiple devices to hand.
  • So log into your internet banking site
    • requires username, password, memorable information
  • Next try and set up the payment
  • You’ll find that you need either your mobile phone with their app on it or that horrible little calculator they provide to create codes.
  • The website asks me to generate a security code
  • I have the phone app but not the calculator
  • So I need to log into the app – username and a different password
  • Then the security code generator asks me to enter my mobile password again – why?  I’m already in the app and you’ve already taken me through security.

Well I did it eventually and then phoned them to let them know how p*ssed off I was.  They answered in a few rings…. Apparently if I register a payment over the phone that’s fine but it will not be listed online as an option I can use again and again – it’s due to security you know!  YES I KNOW you’ve taken me through it several times.

People this sucks – I want a multi-channel relationship with the companies I trust to do business with me – I don’t want to have to jump through hoops security-wise just to do simple tasks.  Does anyone know the name of better bank out there?


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