Monday, May 3, 2021

The Danger of On Line Bill Paying

BBVA bought Compass Bank, my neighborhood banking establishment with the friendly tellers and loan officers and managers.  The website experience didn't change all that much, nor did the in bank experience, nor did the drive through experience.

This week, though, the on-line banking wouldn't load.  The verbiage told me to update Chrome (it is up to date; I checked, just the way they told me).  I turned off the computer, unplugged it, and didn't restart it for a long time.  I got the same error message.

I could access the app on my phone, so I knew I was still a customer.  But it's not set up for paying all my bills at once; figuring out my path through new steps in small print was more trouble than the never found benefits.

This was April 29.  I waited for April 30, hoping that a new day would bring a new result.  Nope.  Magical thinking didn't work.  What a surprise.

I took a check from TBG and went into the bank to deposit it; I didn't trust the scan at home feature by this point.  Moriah, my favorite teller of all time, referred me to a senior administrator.  He promised to help.

We went into his office, he took my phone, and scrolled and clicked and did all the things Android users do to establish that the app is properly installed and that my credentials still worked.  I didn't have to change my password - that was a good thing.  Other than that, he thought that I would be fine.

I wasn't.  I went home and it was still telling me that I don't have access to my account because Microsoft's support for your web browser ended on January 12, 2016. To continue to use our online services, you must upgrade to a current version of Google ChromeTMMozilla Firefox® or Microsoft Internet Explorer®.

It's an interesting error message, since I have had full access to my account through that web browser, on which (incidentally) I am typing to you with no problem.  I followed the HELP instructions and found that, as I noted the day before, Chrome is fully updated.

The banker gave me a phone number, and told me which option to push.  Unfortunately, I waited until today, Sunday, to call.  They aren't there until noon, Central time.  I wanted to have my bills paid before I started my day.  Guess that plan is moot.

The issue is that I have no idea how much I owe to whom.  All my bills are delivered electronically to my bank, showing up in Bill Pay like clockwork.  I assume they are still in there.  I just can't access them.  

TBG has been railing against putting everything online for years.  He says it's not safe, not secure, not as tangible as the paper bills he holds in his hands, as the paper checks he wrote this morning and is now driving to the post office to place in the drive through mail box.  Until now, I've been firmly on the other side, looking at paying bills as a faux video game, clicking merrily through and having the machine do the math.

Today, as I stay on the line to speak to the next available representative....... oops.... even though it is 10:03 here in Tucson .... and Google reassured me that it is 12:03 Central Time...... and the recorded message says that they are open Sunday at Noon Central Time..... I listened to a lengthy recorded message which ended with the hours they are open... which is now....  and they are telling me they aren't there..... Our offices are temporarily closed...... and now it's 10:14 Central Time and they are still not answering the phone.... as they have been every time I've called.

I really do want to pay those bills.  The companies will not be amused if I don't.  Alas, the information is stuck in cyber hell.  It looks like I'm going to have a long afternoon, calling the phone numbers on the back of my credit cards and paying bills by phone.

Paper and pencil...... right now I'm longing for the olden times.

(After much too much time spent listening to the same message, I opened the link in Firefox and paid everything that needed paying.  Through Google, I'm still stuck.. On the phone, I'm still stuck.  Thank you, Firefox, for connecting me to my finances.)


  1. Ever noticed how the things that are meant to make lives so much easier also have the potential to really screw it up as well?

  2. I don't pay anything online, for the reasons given by TBG. Sometimes it is good to be a Luddite.

  3. Gas, water, power, credit cards and etc. all debit automatically from checking. It does give me a slight case of the willies, but after eleven years of being houseless and fully online, I got used to it. It sounds like BBVA's IT department needs to step up. Do they have a twitter account?

  4. Every once in a while I have trouble filling out a website form using Firefox. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to remember to try a different browser, but that always solves the issue.

  5. I'm with TBG on this one! I do look at all my accounts online (laptop, phone is too small for me to deal with seeing much) BUT I receive paper bills, especially for the credit cards that I don't share with my husband. They keep trying to prompt me online to go paperless, but if I should die before my husband, he won't be able to deal with any accounts on the computer - he won't know a bill is due unless it comes in the mail.

  6. Every single one of you is right.
    In Marin, The Ballerina balanced my checkbook because it took her half an hour and it took me all day and an Ativan.
    The point about the surviving spouse not being able to pay bills is something TBG and I have discussed, and these comments are prompting me to get going on that project.
    Once again, Denizens to the rescue.

    1. Yep, it is a BIG DEAL. I'm prime on two cards, Jim is prime on the other two. The credit company will cancel the card when it learns the primary owner has died. Seems rather harsh, but there you go. I don't know if they forgive the balance, or not.


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