A couple of weeks back the fine folks at SmartyPig wrote me to tell me about their new service. They even offered me a $50 gift card to either try the service or give away to a reader. I decided to keep it for three reasons:
- I have had a bad history with giveaways in the past. Even recently, I was afforded the ability to give out Lending Club lending accounts with $50 in them - only to have them stop allowing people to lend for undisclosed amount of time. Given that I've never used this new service, I didn't feel comfortable subjecting readers to another potential debacle.
- By using the card, I can sign up with the service and actually give an informed review.
- I like $50.
So today, I went to sign up with SmartPig to redeem the gift card they sent me. I can't think of a more difficult process. I realize it's a bank and needs to take security seriously, but they really take it to an extremely level. On thing that I noticed from the register page is that you have to have a driver's license. I really don't know why driving is a prerequisite for saving money, but luckily I'm one of the many people who do drive.
There's a standard register screen were you give you basic information. Part of this is choosing a password. Since they are the only bank or online service that requires one upper case, one lower case, and one numerical character, I have to make up a completely new password rather than use the very complex set of case insensitive characters that have kept my accounts safe for more than ten years.
After the password, I have to pick five security questions. I keep looking to see if they've left up their April Fools page, but it seems that's not the case. After answering the questions, I come away feeling that SmartyPig knows me well enough to figure out what color underwear I have on.
I finish with the security questions and I have to pick a security phrase. If you are curious my phrase exhibits the frustration that I have with SmartyPig's sign-up process. I would have used some colorful language, but I'm afraid that they'll make me start over if I pick an unfriendly word. After the phrase I need to pick a picture that they'll show me when I log-in to prevent phishing. The choices are mostly fruit, bugs, and island themes. It would have killed them to have something like a baseball or a football.
Just when I think I'm done with the registration process, they throw me the biggest curve of all. They look up my credit report and make me answer four questions based on it. There are two easy ones, which of the following are streets and cities where you lived. There's a tougher one about how much my mortgage is. I had to log into my bank to look up my scheduled payments to find out if it was fell into the under $1450-1550 range or the $1551-1650 range, just two of the five options they gave me.
The last question was impossible for me to answer. They asked the creditor of my mortgage. As some of you know, mortgages are sold fairly often after getting them. All I know is that I schedule my payment to PHH Mortgage and can go online to MortgageQuestions.com to view my account. Of course neither of these are one of the 4 options available to me. So I select the 5th - None of The Above. It didn't seem to like that. I tried it again, because I am me and that's the correct information to the best of my knowledge.
Of course it was wrong the second time. So now I have to do with the consequences - "After two failed attempts, your application will be cancelled. For security reasons, you must wait 72 hours before resubmitting your application to SmartyPig."
I'm left to write the company representative who gave me the gift card and tell them why I can't register for their service. I hope that they can restore my canceled account, because I'm not sure it's worth my time to try to sign up again. If I didn't have the direct e-mail address of their representatives I would definitely have given up on this service. And while I didn't intend to write a review since I couldn't sign up, I realize that I did indeed review the service - probably the most important part.
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