How it works
Step 1: Following the link, I ended up at an entirely new site, running outside online banking where I was required to re-enter my account number (screen 2), last 4 of SSN, zip, and phone number (see screen 3).
Step 2: I was then required to answer random questions pulled from the credit bureau to authenticate myself (screen 4).
Step 3: Finally, I was able to review and approve the transactions in question (screen 5). Then I was thanked and told I could use my card again (screen 6).
However, after all this, I was still not able to pay my account online and had to call after all. The rep told me that it takes between 2 and 24 hours for online banking access to become available (note 1).
All-in-all, I liked the system. However, it needs to be more integrated into online banking (see note 2). Given all the extra work required to authenticate myself, it would have been faster just to call the 800-number. If I was a normal customer, that’s what I’d do next time. I hate the stress of going through the authentication process, with everything on autopay who can remember their exact payment amounts anymore?
And worse, there is a security disconnect here. I log in to my credit card account only to be told it’s unavailable and that I should login to some site I’ve never heard (that doesn’t even have a Bank of America URL, note 3) and turn over personal info. It looks more like a crude phishing ploy than something from a major bank. And as far as I can recall, there was no customer education on this process.
So, I applaud Bank of America for making transaction verification self-service. But there’s still much work to be done before it replaces the phone process.
1. Main Bank of America Account Overview screen (14 Jan 2011)