On Friday I went a little off the handle reviewing SmartyPig’s registration process. I got frustrated by the many security steps that I had to take before finally getting locked out because my information didn’t match the information in Equifax/SmartyPig’s database.
What I should have said is that many online banking security systems are not user friendly nowadays – and it’s not their fault. The fear of identity theft has driven everyone including regulators to more and more stringent standards. What confuses me is that not every bank has the expansive security process. I have accounts with Bank of America and TD Ameritrade. These account have thousands of dollars in them. These companies are worth billions of dollars – how can they not be required to implement these security systems? It makes no sense that a smaller start-up like SmartyPig, with a business plan that would lead to smaller accounts, should have to be more secure (and I don’t buy that they want to have this process in place).
Back in 2004, I worked for a company that created cell phone applications that utilized the GPS in some phones. It was a tremendously difficult business as only a small subset of phones were GPS enabled, and cell phone carriers didn’t want allow customers to install these applications on their phones (because they’d be the one that would get complaints if it didn’t work out). It was a frustrating time for the whole industry. I feel for SmartyPig – it seems like a similar situation to me. The comments from others showed that these extensive registration/login processes are frustrating customers. It’s not to the same degree, but when you are required to frustrate people, you are facing an uphill battle.
I don’t know if it came across on Friday, but I was particularly critical of SmartyPig. I had hoped to give them a review that would help them advance their product. It appears they will be taking my suggestion to reword the requirement of a driver’s license to include a state issued ID. I would like to see them be able to take a passport ID or a military ID in absence of those as well. Overall it’s a minor issue as most adults will have required ID. You’ll notice I stressed “adults” there. It would seem to me that the SmartyPig service would be popular amongst teens saving up for their first car or a video game system. Yet this target audience likely doesn’t have the state IDs necessary to sign up. I’m sure the SmartyPig team knows this and are looking at ways to address the youth market.
In the coming days and weeks, perhaps I’ll be able to set up an account manually and give a full review of the service.