Bank of Montreal, I hate your security

Oh. My. Lord.

I haven’t been this pissed off in a very, very long time. I actually yelled at the poor person on the phone trying to help me. It’s not her fault. It’s the Bank of Montreal. Who obviously has NO FUCKING CLUE what it’s like to live in the digital age.

Allow me to elaborate...

BMO (the short form of Bank of Montreal) recently introduced new security procedures for their online banking. In addition to your card number and PIN, you choose an image and provide a password. (This is all to prevent phishing.) I welcomed this, since I had similar functionality on my ING account for a couple of years.

So, choose an image, provide a little info, toss in a password. No problem.

Until I came back. Suddenly, my previously wonderful password doesn’t work. No idea why. Could swear I’ve got the right one. Try again. And again. And suddenly, I get a page telling me that my card is locked (thankfully, only online) and to call BMO to have it unlocked.

Which I got around to today. And boy, I can’t think of a worse experience. Ever.

When you need access to personal financial information through your institution, you generally get asked the Big 6:

Now, admittedly, anyone wanting to steal your identity could dig this information up and put it to nefarious means. So to that extent, I see that BMO’s approach for more information is necessary.

Their additional questions:

I need to get at least two of those right in order to be validated as me. Problem: I DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO MY FUCKING ACCOUNT! So how the hell am I supposed to know?

No, I don’t memorise every bloody number that goes in and out of my account. That’s what monthly statements are for. Or, better yet, the online banking website that I don’t have access to! I don’t want to know what my monthly mortgage payments are — I just want to know that they’re being paid, and that my mortgage is being paid down.

This is the digital age, folks. People actively try not to know numbers. I can’t count the number of people I know who don’t know their own phone numbers, let alone their last three transactions. Besides, as you already know (because you asked) — I’m married, so I don’t know the last three transactions because I might not have made them!

This is an open letter to BMO: Find a process that does not require someone to have up-to-the-moment financial history. It’s not feasible, and it’s (obviously) too difficult for some of us poor schmucks who are more worried about forgetting their wife’s birthday.

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