Friday, November 07, 2008

ICICI's Internet Banking - All Pain No Gain

I know there is lot venom spewed about ICICI Bank's services, and I too have sympathized on occasions about the painful process of Internet security. But I realized the degree of pain only after I went through the process myself. I seriously wonder if I would be half as pained if my account was hacked into. :)

1. Suddenly, we receive a mandate that we need to pay taxes only online - no checks accepted (seems like the Internet banking guys have formed a cartel. Have held guns to our heads and want us to file taxes only online.) So here you have a paradoxical situation - we want to pay taxes but can't unless you have your e-banking enabled. So you pay taxes, pay a penalty because payment is delayed while you wait to enable your e-banking account, finally pay online, and pay fees for paying online by using e-banking. Wish we could create such compelling business models for our business!!

2. Now is the trick part. Only one director cannot authorize the online payment. This is because some 400 years back when we opened our a/c with ICICI bank and had small revenues, we had authorized 2 directors to authenticate payouts more than 50K. Now, 400 years later, almost every payout exceeds 50K but we still need to authenticate each and every payout. Well, you'd ask why can’t we change the authentication process? Glad you did not ask, I could punish you by asking an ICICI agent to explain the procedure that begins with submission of residence proof, employment proof (doesn't matter if you are the owner!), PAN, driving license, DOB certificate, you kids' birth certificate, your wife's credit card statement, your maid's salary slip... and all things imaginable! Doesn't matter if you are an old customer, doesn't matter if you have been transacting with them for donkeys years, doesn't matter if they have all conceivable information about you.

3. Now that we are conned into using the e-banking facility, we need to have a password as well. Please note that because ICICI is a "safe" bank, they want us to change the passwords every 15 days. These passwords have to be completely new, should be alphanumeric, and at least 8 digit long. Well, only Shakuntala Devi can remember such passwords!! Naturally, I lost steam after changing my password after the fourth fortnight and gave up! Consequently, my e-banking rights were withdrawn.

4. Ok! Finally, I have to go back to enable my e-bank accounts. After going through the agony of a 30-minute painful verification process over telephone with a robot-like call center executive, I was told that my email id has been verified and I can apply for my e-banking password online. I was told that I'd receive an email confirmation in 2 days. Thankfully, after a week and with serious follows by our office manager, I was told that my email is authenticated.

5. Then begins the most frustrating part. I go to the bank website and select Corporate banking. Then, I go to the option called "reset password". I go through the steps as directed. But nothing happens! Why? Because, Internet security is important, they trust paper communication. So, I need to fax them a signed request to reset the password. Having done that, I receive an email the next day confirming that my password is reset.

(Btw, see the image above, I have to enter a Passcode but there is no information about what this is!)

6. What do you expect when you receive a message that your password is reset? Like all gullible fools I understand that I have a new password now so I can conduct my online transaction. But hold on... that's not to be. The sinister message reads:

Please note that since you have got the transaction access so to get the requested password activated please fax a request for activation mentioning your Corporate ID, user Id, Account No. and the request ID to the fax no (022) 67574557 or email the scanned copy to Request needs to be signed by the user.

I seriously wonder who designed the authentication process! If you have sent me a password, obviously I don't want it to hatch eggs or file them away as FDs. I intend to use it. So, why fax you another written request for this? Anyways, the entire exercise started pre-Diwali and thanks to ICICI's safe banking habits, I'm still struggling to log on to my Internet banking account!

1 comment:

csk said...
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