A customer-unfriendly online banking system | Letters to the Editor


The management of our major banks are busy congratulating themselves on having succeeded in converting the number of customers to online banking, limiting deposits made “manually” to $10,000 and more (so what about all small deposits?), reducing crowds in banks and thus being “Covid-responsible”.

There is, however, another side to the story. When RBC converted to electronic banking and started cutting back on walk-in service, it was the most hated bank in town, according to the many complaints I heard. Maybe they listened to complaints and fixed things — I don’t do business with RBC, so I don’t know.

Republic Bank, however, is in a class of its own with what has to be the most customer-unfriendly system ever programmed.

It’s a nightmare of inadequate menus with unfamiliar terms, very slow responses, short timeouts, multiple logins always required, difficulty getting a paper trail of what you just did , etc., etc.

I have found that no one in management is interested in listening to customer complaints, so how can we expect them to improve?

Examples are:

1. When opening the site, why not immediately display as many of the account’s transactions as possible, with an obvious scroll down for previous ones. In other words, open with the statement. Most people want to see if a payment has been made or received and the balance, so why go through multiple (incomprehensible) menu options for this?

2. Why do we have to go to “Transactions” for all we want to know, because we don’t know what “Transactions” means.

3. During a payment, we would like to send a message to the beneficiary, indicating from whom and for what. Maybe “Invoice Number” or something similar. This cannot be done with confidence on the online screen. There’s a section for “Notes” or something, but nowhere does it say “THIS WILL BE SHOWN WITH YOUR PAYMENT”, so nine times out of ten the payee has to infer by remote sensing, making phone inquiries, etc

4. When you have multiple things to do, why does the thing keep timeout while you wait for the next menu option to appear?

5. When logging in, a small spinning wheel indicates that it is moving to the next step in the process (a damn long wait). Once you’ve logged in, the little wheel disappears so you don’t know if “the system” just went to sleep or actually moves you to the next menu option (longer waits). Usually it expires, so you have to start over!

6. If I decide to look up a previous payment and it shows on the screen, decide to print it as proof, it prints as a “transaction” that was just completed on the date of today. This is very worrying because you made the payment last week. So, has he made the payment yet? Why not be clear and show the payment date?

There are plenty more complaints, but basically it’s an unintuitive menu system that needs a lot of improvement and is ridiculously slow. Of course one can always go to the ATM and withdraw cash and try to do all business in cash, except in the case of the Glencoe branch the machine is often empty or does not print a receipt this that day!

And, of course, the bank claims they are not responsible for the ATMs, that’s another company’s responsibility!

Recently, we heard that Republic is majority government-owned, but after all, that doesn’t mean our flagship bank has to operate as a section of the government.

Reg Potter



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