Sunday, 8 April 2012

6 suggestions to improve the activation process of Standard Chartered business online banking

Each time I go on a bank website, I know I will get frustrated. As tweeted a few days ago, in comparison to an User Experience available on an online banking service, any other service look good.

Recently opening a business bank account with Standard Chartered in Singapore, I am sharing the experience and the main pain point encountered on the process. If someone from Standard Chartered reads it and is interested in improving the process, I will be delighted to discuss it further.

#1. Send me less letters!

I did not keep track of all the mails received during the account opening and activation but it's definitively more than 5.
I understand everything can not be sent in 1 mail (like passwords which are to be sent separately), it is frustrating not to know what will come next, not to know where I am in the process. I would love a simple webpage allowing me to view the activation process, so I know what I should expect.

#2. Don't ask me to send you a letter!

"Kindly acknowledge receipt by signing and returning the duplicate copy of this letter."

One the mail received includes 2 versions of a letter, with a sentence asking me to return it. But it does not tell me why I would do it, what will happen if I don't. (As a hint, 2 weeks after receiving it and not returning it, I see no effect).

Sending a letter is a big hassle (need an enveloppe, stamp, and to find a post office or another place to actually post the letter), please don't ask me to do that!

#3. Make it easy to know where I log in!

Have you been on the website? Try it. Go now on or just look at this screenshot:, March 2012

Yes, there are 4 online services I can log on... How am I expected to know which one to use? Should I have nothing else to do than read this website for hours to find out? How can a bank even have several service to propose? Gmail does not ask me if I want to receive or to send an email before I log in!

If a distinction is really needed, and as is standard practise with many banks, just propose me Personal and Business as the two online banking entry points.

Another lack of clarity on the site: the blue menu in the middle of the page does not give a clear indication of which category (first line) is currently selected. A better tab layout would be welcome.

#4. Explain the token activation better!

Let's have a look at the activation process:
At one point, the process brings me to the page as showed above. First thing I read is about this encrypted string and shared secret... for which I had no idea of what it could be! Seeing the red stars I, for a second, hoped that it would be a help tooltip telling me how I can find them and how they look like. Unfortunately they are just stars to tell me the 2 fields are mandatory (at least it's my best guess as these stars were not to be seen in previous steps and no text explained what they mean).

Once I finally found what to type in the fields, I was left to choosing a button... 'Submit', 'Unlock' or 'Vasco OTP'? I had no clue of what Vasco or OTP means, and the color coding did not help me choose any. (hint 'Submit' was the good one).

#5. Can we avoid physical tokens?

To be fair with Standard Chartered, they are not the only bank to use one. Unfortunately. As I have different bank account, this is what it looks like:

And the one from Standard Chartered:

You can see that the Standard Chartered token is winning the game of the biggest token against HSBC. They also got the good idea not to include the small hole which means I can not tie it with the others.

Google use a mobile app for the same result. Save plastic, save place, more convenient and I believe much cheaper. Banks, please go for a mobile app-based token!

#6. Show me all my transactions!

Ok, I'm sure it's only me who's having difficulty activation my Standard Chartered online banking (oh wait, no I'm not the only one, someone just asked me some help as they are stuck too). The important is that it works, right?

And it does, I can now log in, and see my account balance.

What about my transactions? That will be for another day! It appears that the bank decided transactions prior to the activation of the online banking are not included in the online banking.
I wonder how a balance can exists without transactions leading to it, and what can be the reason not to show these transactions.

As activation of the online banking was the first thing I asked when I opened the account, I am wondering how it can be decided that the online banking is not activated from day0.

#7. Bonus: How do I log in from the iPhone App?

After multiple attempts, I'm still out of luck to access the Straight2Bank iPhone app. It requests my Group ID and User ID, which is similar to the online login form. Then it asks for a password that I am unable to find, and I do not know how to get a new password. Even trying the code given by the token is not successful.
After enquiries, it seems to be because the iPhone App is for personal banking only, not businesses. Why not write it visibly on the App Store and in the App to avoid the doubt and frustration?