Monday, 4 August 2008

Secure payments over the internet

It's sad when complaint letters are the order of the day, but earlier tonight our bank (the ANZ) managed to piss me off enough while I was trying to make a hotel booking over the internet that I decided a letter is due.
To cut a long story short, the security pages added by the bank to the process of making a secure credit card payment through third party websites don't seem to work; instead of enhancing security they severely reduce it, but they do add tons of confusion instead.
Without further ado, here's tonight's letter of complaint:

As I have just been through a horrible ordeal involving ANZ'a web facilities, I thought I might share this experience from you so that you might understand why I keep on finding ANZ's facilities to be less and less attractive and why the thought of moving my finances to another bank is increasing in its appeal.

Earlier tonight my wife and I were trying to book a hotel room in Singapore through the AsiaBestHotel.com website. I was using a desktop computer running Ubuntu Linux as its operating system with Firefox 3 as the internet browser.
Entering the order at the website required us to go through the lengthy procedure of entering our order requirements, followed by entering our personal details, followed by entering our ANZ Visa credit card details. At that point we were presented with an ANZ internet page asking for my ANZ credit card's confirmation password. I typed my password in, but the page did not respond when I clicked its confirmation button. Firefox alerted me that the internet page was trying to download a plug-in, so I gave it permission to download the plug-in; however, Firefox then told me no plug-in could be found. It seemed as though I was not able to finish the hotel booking transaction, although for all I know the booking could have already been made without me knowing.
In a second attempt to book a hotel room, I reverted to using another computer running Windows Vista with Internet Explorer 7. I went through the same ordeal and got presented with the same ANZ password confirmation page. This time around, a popup window told me that if I want to use password and chip protection I need to download a plug-in. However, when I clicked the OK button on the popup to download the plug-in my browser window just closed down on me. Again, I was not able to finish my hotel booking transaction, and again I was left in the dark with regards to how far my booking really went.
I then made a third attempt, using Internet Explorer 7 (again). I went through the same ordeal for the third time, but this time around I clicked the Cancel button on the popup asking me about the plug-in. I then went on to enter my ANZ password, and then - finally - managed to click the web page's confirmation button and acquire a confirmation for my booking.

Given the experience I have just had, I would like ANZ to explain the following:
1. How come ANZ fails to support the Firefox internet browser, used by 30% of the Australian internet community?
2. How come ANZ produces such badly designed internet pages in the first place, given that they don't function properly both in Firefox and in Internet Explorer?
3. What is the point of ANZ's credit card confirmation facilities, meant to enhance user security, if they don't work the way they are required to work and if they only serve to reduce users' confidence?

For all I know, at this moment in time I might have anything between one to three hotel bookings paid for in my name using my ANZ credit card. I am sure you would agree with me that the blame for this confusion and for the time I have wasted is entirely at the hands of ANZ, which seems to have managed to produce web facilities that are both insecure and riddled with defects.

1 comment:

Moshe Reuveni said...

For what it's worth, ANZ's reply to the email was that the credit card verification interface that troubled me is run by Visa and not by them. They claim to support Firefox, which their regular websites indeed do.
Now I need to find out how I can file the same complaint with Visa...