18 thoughts on “My Email Account Is More Secure Than My Bank Account

  1. After so many years with the silly Netcode charge of 25 cents (when it started so long ago)/20 cents, ASB finally removed it July this year https://www.asb.co.nz/personal/asb-notification-17.

    They still charge for a token but hey at least you have an option for two factor authentication without having to pay unreasonable fees. I never really understood why ASB would want to effectively discourage their customers from doing something will protect them and therefore reduce costs for ASB. Yes, the fee may not have been large in the grand scheme of things but for many customers it’s the principle of the thing. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who never even consider two factor authentication either for all logins or for all transfers (ASB allows you to adjust the Netcode limit) as long as it meant a silly fee instead opting to avoid Netcode as much as possible. With the ComCom mandated changes to the MTR SMS rate meaning it’s impossible to imagine ASB was paying more then 0.1c per SMS the charge got even more untenable (although I find it hard to imagine ASB was paying much more even before unless the NZ mobile scene is much worse then I thought or ASB was simply incompetent.) In fact, I was annoyed enough by the fee that last time I tried to activate my credit card I attempted to call ASB to avoid the Netcode fee. (Except I found out since I didn’t have a password set up I couldn’t do this, although they didn’t mention this in the set-up info, despite mentioning the requirement for Netcode. This suggests if your overseas and never set up a password and don’t have Netcode or access to your Netcode you could be SOL although I presume they will probably try to help in special cases like this.)

    ASB may have been the first to do 2 factor authentication in NZ, but until July, I would say they weren’t doing it well, many banks had surpassed them by realising if you really want people to use 2 factor, don’t charge them for it.

    BTW, the fee changes have also ended the email notification fee, text banking fee, and automatic and bill payment setup fees. Some other fees were increased but these perhaps aren’t completely unreasonable.

    About the not requiring pins things, was wondering at first but after a small amount of investigation and thought I’ve never really seen it as a big deal, even for those who don’t inspect their statements (which I admit isn’t me). Given the small amounts and the places involved it’s hard to imagine it’s going to be a productive avenue for credit card skimmers or professionals. And remember because the cost of fraudulent or disputed transactions will likely largely fall on the stores involved, there’s a built in disincentive against any store which is such a target using the system. There is a small risk of in-store fraud (i.e. staff or members of the public using your card for purchases without you noticing while it’s out of your hand), but again there is an incentive to a store to prevent this. And I expect with most stores using this, the card isn’t generally going to be handled by staff anyway. That just slows things down which defeats one of the purposes of not requiring a pin. If you lose your credit card, even just temporarily but don’t check your statements carefully for the time it was missing, frankly it’s not surprising if you’re the victim of fraud.

    So the biggest risk for fraudulent transactions coming from this would seem to be ‘relative’ or ‘flatmate’ fraud, i.e. where someone borrows your credit card without permission and uses it without you realising so you don’t have a reason to check your statement carefully.

  2. The banking system is a lot more complicated than you think. I have just started studying finance and I tell you we’re actually very lucky we can transfer between banks overnight, it’s a very big process. There are many ins and outs which you are (and I was) unaware of. Just saying

  3. Patrick Quinn-Graham

    I’ve lived in 4 countries now and having dealt with the various banking systems in each I can say this: nowhere is banking as simple as it should be.

    The password situation is stupid. Westpac Australia enforce a 6 character password. That must be entered by clicking a virtual keyboard. My UK bank had an 8 character limit. The only bank that handled this well was RBC (Canada), where I had a 16 character password that only 1Password ever knew.

    The fees. Oh the fees. And you don’t need to have a base monthly one to be hit by them. Due to a work fail I got hit with £35 so the bank could not pay my rent, and another £35 so they could pay my £35 phone bill. (work covered those, but still). Westpac.au don’t seem too bad in that regards, but I’ve not yet crossed them so maybe they are.

    Visa Debit cards don’t seem to cost extra here, and all “eftpos” cards in the UK were either MasterCard’s (Maestro/Solo when I was there) or Visa Debit. Other than their use online I’m not sure what value proposition is. Mine stays at home (my visa can access my normal account at an ATM anyway).

    As to the low-value-no-pin transactions – I actually appreciate that. Not wanting to check your statements is not a good reason to prevent that, there are much easier ways for someone to pretend to be your card (through e-commerce transactions or however they make fake cards these days).

    1. Banking seems to be an industry where a new player could be really successful just by not being as sucky as the competition. I think Simple might be on the right track.

      I use KeePass and wish that the banks would let me take full advantage of the generated passwords it offers. I think the purpose of low character limits is to try to stop people from writing down complicated passwords, but a 30 character password of letters is arguably secure and could be easy to memorize too.

      My concern with the no PIN transactions is that I don’t think it’s been conveyed by Visa and Mastercard to their customers that this is a new service they’re offering merchants and that this is a good reason to start checking their statements if they aren’t already. I still think an opt-in/opt-out arrangement would be useful.

    2. Hi Patrick and all,

      Just check Kiwibank – no fees (even credit cards can be free of fees), variable complexity of passwords and 2-step authentication as well 😉 plus money transferred once per hour to other banks …

      1. Hi Tramp

        Thanks for your comment.

        I think that most banks offer fee free accounts for everyday banking. Kiwibank’s MasterCard Zero is unique.

        Kiwibank still has some interesting fees, like other banks, for things like text alerts, ATM balance enquiries, Visa Debit disputed transactions, Visa Debit transaction declines, bank cheques, copies of statements, abandoned accounts, to set up automatic payments, to skip scheduled payments and to set up direct debits.

        Kiwibank transferring money in a few hours (I’ve heard 3-4 hours, but it also depends on the receiving bank) is a good start, but if I transferred money today (Saturday), it wouldn’t get there until Tuesday because it’s the weekend.

  4. My fave BS charge has to be the ones for an AP that doesnt have enough in the account to go out.

    They are charging you FOR DOING NOTHING. If I was to log into internet banking at the time and press bill payments and there was no money, it just doesnt happen, but when it is scheduled ahead of time either thru bill payments or an AP, they bill you.

    And to make it worse, they dont tell you it failed, thats right, they charge you to not do something and not tell you that they didnt do it.

    If you send an email and it fails, you get a report back, yet for money they seem to think that you dont need to know unless you go and check your statement online checking for those charges that occur when something doesnt happen.

    Second thing that annoys me is the advertising that debit cards are a good thing because its your own money. Sorry, my money being at risk to the insecure visa/mastercard networks is a _BAD_ thing. its much better for me when it is the banks money at risk. Anyone in banking that claims that visa/mastercard is secure has clearly never had mysterious charges appear on their card, or it get automatically suspended at 8pm on a friday night when out in town and found that the only access to their money has been turned off by an automated system that no human can override till monday, and that the only solution is to get another embossed plastic token from the bank with all the details needed to charge to it printed on the front of it.

    Credit cards are a security FAIL in every aspect. Why the hell would I want that same failure applied to my own money in my own account? No thanks banks.

    1. Simple (the “online bank”) has a really excellent policy on fees:

      “We believe that sort of business model creates an adversarial relationship between banks and their customers, since the bank benefits when customers make mistakes. That’s not right.”

      And they’re exactly right.

  5. Hi Matthew, thanks for taking the time to post this blog, ASB welcomes feedback and this is certainly comprehensive.

    We are aware of the points you have raised regrading internet banking security and have a programme commenced to make changes in this area. Due to the nature of the changes and the complex backend systems involved, this takes some time so please bear with us. For added security at login, we encourage you to use Netcode SMS or token which provides 2 factor authentication. If cost is an issue for you, please talk to us about this. ASB was the first NZ bank to offer 2 factor authentication on internet banking and we take security very seriously. Prevention is only one aspect of security, detection is also very important. ASB has a team monitoring fraudulent transactions 24/7 and we have many testimonials from customers where we have detected fraud on their credit cards and called them to check the authenticity of the transaction.

    Fees such as the ones you have identified above are reviewed regularly and feedback such as yours is taken into account – thank you for this, we will keep you posted of any changes.

    To clarify the question regarding services fees – these apply to both youth and tertiary accounts as stated on our website “Service charges apply to all these exemption packages.” https://www.asb.co.nz/…/interest-rates…/fee-exemptions. We will see if we can make this more prominent on the page so it is clearer.

    Our Save the Change service has been hugely popular, with over $18m saved since it was introduced. Here is a link to the feedback we have received, it speaks for itself really https://www.asb.co.nz/…/let-us-know-what-you-think-of….

    And lastly you are probably aware that ASB to ASB payments are realtime, 7 days per week, and calls to our Contact Centre and Fastphone banking service are free from mobile phones.

    Thanks again for providing your feedback. Also we would like to thank you for your support during #eqnz where you helped by tweeting the ASB Red Cross NZ donation account that had been set up to help those impacted by the Christchurch earthquake.

    Kind regards

    Simone McCallum
    Head of Internet Community.
    ASB Bank

    1. How do I get a Netcode token? I couldn’t find any info on your site. It would like to have one of those for sign on, because my Facebook password is significantly more complex than my 8 character ASB Fastnet login.

    2. Just to further explain my problem with Save the Change: I know lots of people love it, but I’m not convinced that the amount being saved per person is significant enough to be that person’s sole savings strategy, and I’m guessing a lot of people think that because they are saving /something/ with Save the Change (which is better than saving nothing), that’s all they need to do. A lot of people should be saving 5-10% of their income, and I don’t see that happening for most people who are just using Save the Change.

  6. Hi Matthew, I’m the Online Community Manager at the BNZ. Firstly this is a really well written and thoughtful piece. Secondly, I will put this in front of a few people on Monday. At the very least you deserve to know it’s been read by us, given you took the time to express your thoughts so articulately. If there’s anything we can come back to you on by way of clarification, explanation or making changes, we will. Thanks, Anna.

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