For the past almost two months I have been trying to open an account with a German online bank called Comdirect. Not a loan, not an overdraft account, but a simple current account. And guess what?!? I am unsuccessful in my attempts. But moreover the service design is the thing that worries me the most.
For an online only bank, such as Comdirect is, one would expect to get things done faster. In addition the user experience and the interaction design are expected to be close to what you get online with any other bank. It is just the idea that you don’t have to visit that physical location that the rest of the financial institutions ask from you. And yet, I got nothing of that in my attempts to get a bank account with Comdirect.
So here is the anthology of a failed account opening with Comdirect:
- Step 1 – Attempting to complete the online form rendered unsuccessful, due to lack of proven German residential address for the past 6 months. The honest individual that I am did not allow me to click on the appropriate box.
- Step 2 – Offline application filled out, Deutsche Post employee verifying the documents against my passport and sent to Comdirect.
- Step 3 – I received a letter that I need to provide the official address registration, followed by me sending the officially issued documents.
- Step 4 – I received another letter that asked me to verify my First and Family Name. Done that by showing my Bulgarian ID.
- Step 5 – I was again asked to provide proof of residence in Germany issued by the German official authorities. My patience has prompted me to comply again, so I did it.
- Step 6 – I received two more letters in the same time. One was denying my account opening application and the second one was once more asking me to provide that particular proof of residence that the German government issues.
- Step 7 – At this point I ran out of patience and said “basta” (to put it mildly).
Post factum analysis in bullet points:
- I wanted a simple bank account with a financial establishment that will not bury me in paperwork. Comdirect, although advertising paperless banking, has buried me with letters.
- Looking at the website, a customer is promised a hassle free application process. As you have read the above, it is impossible to call this process “easy-peasy”.
- In case the documents provided by the German government are not up to Comdirect’s standards. Guess who has to change?
- Should there be any limitations concerning foreign nationals getting a bank account, shouldn’t Comdirect explicitly lay them down on their application specific web page?
- Last but not least, thank you, Comdirect, but no thank you!
So what this all means for a digital or web professional? When you design a service that will be offered to a large pool of certain demographic, be sure that you have all the angles covered. Moreover, take the time to consider placing in the FAQ section the facts and reasoning, behind the limitations of your service. Oh, and instead of burying the customer in letters, pick up the bloody phone and try (really try) to find a solution.
Cause, guess what? In a moment of frustration I tweeted and facebooked about my problem. And so it happened a friend was about to apply for a Comdirect account. She read my post and thanked me for sharing my opinion. I guess, she will think twice before sending the application. So will the people who read this blog post.
Image source: Comdirect
Copyright © 2011 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.