Why won’t HSBC fix their website?

HSBC have had a number of what I would consider problems with their websites for the many years that I have banked with them. A few years ago I submitted an online feedback form, but nothing changed, so last month I wrote them a letter (as you do when you get to my age).

It would be nice if they could find the time to fix these issues. They recently had time to issue me a new, more complicated, security device and add an annoying pop-up trying to get me to install their Rapport malware for example. However, they have not had time to make their passwords case sensitive.

I really don’t know how these issues arise in the first place though. As I told them in my letter.

4 June 2014

RE: INTERNET BANKING

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been unable to locate a postal or email address for your internet banking service, so I have resorted to writing to the branch and hope that you will be able to pass it on to the relevant parties.

Over the past few years I have consistently run into a problem with your internet banking for my personal account.

When I go to “make a payment” I have the option of selecting “pay a bill or organisation” or “pay family, friends or other”.

I need to make a payment to HMRC, to which I am given the account number and sort code. But when I go to “family, friends or other” and try and enter the account details it says the payee already exists and that I must use “pay a bill or organisation”.

When I go to “pay a bill or organisation” I then have to select HMRC and then select one of their tax offices. But I have no idea which office I am supposed to pay. All I have is that the account name is HMRC and then I have the sort code and account number.

I do not for the life of me understand why you will not let me make a payment in the usual way using the sort code and account number.

However, even if we overlook that, how you expect anyone else to translate nonsense phrases likes “HMRC NIC DEF PYT”. I don’t know what that is! How is anybody supposed to know?

I have included a printed-out screenshot of the bewildering screen.

I think at very least you should list the sort code and account number next to each entry, and use descriptive names for them, so that we can check we are paying the right account. Better still, just allow people to make payments using the sort code and account number like you would reasonably expect to be able to do at any bank.

MAKING PAYMENTS ON BUSINESS BANKING

Another piece of feedback I think is important is regarding your business internet banking. When you go to make a payment on there, you are able to go to “new payee” and enter the account details.

However the sort code is only 4 characters wide and the account number box is only 6 characters wide.

As you know, sort codes are 6 characters long and account numbers are 8 characters long.

This means that it is very difficult to check you have entered the correct account number and sort code because they do not fit in the box at the same time. I have enclosed a printed-out screenshot with this letter to demonstrate the problem.

As a software consultant, I have literally no idea how this situation could arise. Surely, if even the most basic testing can been carried out on your website, someone would have spotted that this was a significant design defect.

I would suggest that the boxes are extended so that you are actually able to see both the sort code and account number.

Yours faithfully,
Chris Worfolk

I received a letter back from them saying they had passed my feedback on. The issues still seem to be on their website though, as shown by this screenshot:

hsbc-online-banking

Clearly there is not enough space in those boxes to enter the account number and sort-code and be able to see the full number to check you have entered in correctly. I would not even dare pass that code to a tester; Chris K would be appalled.

If I ever get the time I am going to write a browser plugin to fix these issues myself.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 11:35 am and is filed under Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.