Resigning My Spot At The FinTech Titan Table

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 With all apologies to the Beverly Hillbillies….

“Come listen to my story about a man named Ron,
A real tech moron, could barely turn his PC on,
And then one day he gets a message from his bank,
And now he has to give up his FinTech Titan rank.”

***

It was an honor to be named a FinTech Titan by Meniga CMO Duena Blomstrom. To be included on a list with the likes of Brett King and Chris Skinner is pretty damn good.

But I’m afraid that some events have transpired that compel me to resign my spot at the FinTech Titan table.

***

Woke up Saturday morning, went down to get my coffee mug off my desk, saw my smartphone sitting there unplugged, and turned it down to check the power level.

What I saw was an alert from my bank notifying me of some suspicious activity from an unrecognized IP address trying to access my account, and a link to reset my password. Clicked on the link, entered my ID and password and hit enter. The next screen asked me to verify my address and social security number.

***

At this point, you’re sitting there thinking “What the hell were you [email protected]!#”

And that’s exactly the problem–I wasn’t thinking (I was first going to get my coffee cup). When I saw the prompt for the SSN it finally dawned on me that this was a phishing attempt.

The fact that I’ve never given my bank my cellphone number never seemed to make its way into my consciousness.

***

Picked up my iPad, which is the device I typically use to access my bank accounts (because, really? can anyone my age really read anything on a smartphone?).

Logged into the mobile app from my bank, saw the money was still there, and started hunting around the app to figure out how to change my password.

For the life of me, could not figure out how to do that.

***

Put the iPad down, got out my debit card and handed it to my wife and asked her to read me the phone number on the back of the card (G*d help me if I ever need to call my bank when no one else is around, because the font size of the information on the back of the card is way too small for my old eyes to read).

Dialed the number….”Para espanol..”

Oh for chrissakes….<Ron presses ZERO about 100 times>

“Please enter your account or card number”

Did it.

“Your account balance is…”

<Ron presses ZERO 100 more times>

“In order to get you to the right person….”

Then my wife suggests: “It would be quicker to go the branch.”

Good idea. Grabbed the car keys, drove the two minutes to the branch. Only to find out it was still closed and wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes.

Called my wife, told her the branch wasn’t open, asked her to make the call. Headed home.

Got home, got handed the phone by my wife, who told me she had talked to someone, asked them to place a hold on the account, and was told she would have to transfer my wife to someone in wealth management.

Wealth management? For g*d’s sake, those people don’t work more than 10 minutes on Monday thru Friday, g*d knows they won’t be there on Saturday.

And they weren’t. Call never went through. Hung up. Dialed again. Started going through the process all over again.

Wife said: “Branch opens in 15 minutes. Maybe someone will be there early and let you in.”

Good idea. Grabbed the car keys, drove the two minutes to the branch. And they did let me in early. Well, if you consider 8:59 to be “early.”

***

So now I’m in the branch. Explained to the woman who let me in what I needed, she said, “go right in here, Tom can help.”

Explained to Tom what happened, handed him my statement, debit card, and drivers license, and he gets into my account. “Nothing has happened to the account.”

Phew.

“Let’s get your online account closed,” he said.

At which point he picks up the phone and calls the online banking support number

“Are you calling into the same number that customers call into?, I ask.

“Yep.”

I’m thinking: “You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. An employee can’t call in and avoid the wait?”

So we’re sitting there waiting for the contact center to pick up.

“Your call is very important to us. A representative will be with you shortly.”

I’m freaking sitting across from a representative you automated idiot!

As we’re sitting there, Tom says “you’d be surprised how many people this happens to.”

And I say: “I’m a freaking FinTech Titan, Tom! I know g*ddamn well how many people this happens to!”

Except I didn’t exactly say that out loud.

And then I had to deal with that thing known as TRUTH: “This happens to millions of morons all the time, and sadly–I am one of the morons.”

***

A call center rep finally comes on, asks how he can help. Tom tells him who he his, and gives the rep his employee ID and access code (which I now know).

Online access is shut down, a new ID and temporary password is established, and I’m good to go.

Until Tom says, “I know you didn’t come in to talk about this, but I can see from your accounts that you qualify for the Super-de-duper Plutonium Level of our new rewards program.” And pushes a brochure across the table.

Looking at the rewards (if you want to call them that) that I qualify for, most won’t do me any good since I won’t be getting a mortgage or HELOC any time soon. But the extra bonus on the cash rewards credit card is really good.

I asked Tom if he gets anything if I sign up, and he says he won’t get a commission or anything, but will get “brownie points” if I enrolled in the program and even more brownie points if I apply for the credit card.

“Go ahead and enroll me in the rewards program, Tom. But I gotta talk to the Mrs. first to see if we want the card.”

And went home.

***

Got home. Told my wife we were all set. And then showed her the brochure for the rewards program.

“Damn, this is really good isn’t it? Given what we spend on gas and groceries, this would more than double the cash we get back on our current card. Let’s get it.”

So what do you think I did next?

RIGHT. Grabbed the car keys, drove the two minutes to the branch. Sat down with Tom, and applied for the credit card.

***

So there you have it. Within the course of an hour, I:

  1. Fell victim to a phishing attempt;
  2. Visited a branch three times (or two, depending on how you want to count it); and
  3. Applied for a credit card in a bank branch.

At this point, I’m afraid that the only honorable thing to do is resign my spot at the FinTech Titan table. I’m not worthy. Not sure I ever was.

And the next time some smart ass market researcher asks me “What channel did you use the last time you applied for a credit card?” I’m gonna have to embarrass myself and say “The branch.” Like all the other morons who had to go there to fix their phishing mistakes. 

 

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