alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


The Pain of Online Banking

The real world, along with the virtual online world, is not static as things as coming and going with better bigger and faster things always on their way. These days we have come to rely on our computers to get things done. Be it writing a report, working on a spreadsheet or developing the next greatest application. So what do you do when your tools stop working?

Being in the IT sector I know how import it is to ensure that your customers/clients are able to use the technologies that you have given them. If it's a desktop application then it needs to install, work on 99% of software configurations and be a all round good application to use. If on the other hand it's a web-based system well then be kind and ensure that it is standards compliant and works in most browsers out there. The real golden rule is to not assume anything. Remember that, it's going to play a vital point in a bit.

Now as I said earlier everything is changing all the time and when it comes to computers there are always updates to protect us in the form of security fixes, etc. Not to mention bug fixes and other usability enhancements. Imagine how annoyed I was to find that after a recent upgrade from Apple Mac OS X 10.4.2 to 10.4.3 that I was no longer able to use my browser, Safari, to access my Online Banking sites.

The two UK banks that need to be shamed are NatWest and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Owing to the fact that they have the same holding company their systems and services are quite similar (well when it comes to online banking in any case). Visiting their online banking sites yields an error message saying that I was using an unsupported browser.

Funny that, especially as I used Safari the day before to get some transfer done. Oh well let's click on their link to list the supported browser. But what's this? You're saying Safari 2.0 is supported and yet my Safari is 2.0.2 and previously it was 2.0.1 Okay fine so next they tell me to use Firefox 1.0 but I only have 1.5 (beta) installed and you're kicking me out on that. Then the Internet Explorer version for the Mac that you suggest I use does not allow me access either.

Eventually I had to download Firefox 1.0.7 just to be able to login. Now I understand that maybe not everyone is keeping up with advances in technology but some business sectors really do need to pay more attention. I've done the right thing and updated my software and now I am locked out of my banking site. These companies really need to catch a wake up call and either design sites that are more standards compliant which would result in them being able to support, for example, Opera. You'd also not have to resort to checking the browser version right down to the point point release. Don't be so anal.

At least have someone responsible for checking when new browsers are released and trying to get support for that into your systems as soon as possible. You've still not done anything and it's been a week and a half since the update. Do your access logs not show a large number of Apple Mac users trying to access your site but being rejected?

So please stop assuming I have Internet Explorer running on Windows XP and I am never going to update anything. The world is changing and people what with automatic updates for most operating systems the one thing you can count on is change.