Thursday, August 5, 2010

Online banking is a farcical absurdity.

I'm not closing my US bank account because in an unpredictable emergency a cache of USD is helpful.  I need some way to manage and interact with it while I'm in Korea, preferably without using the phone, so I set up online banking last week.  I immediately forgot my username and had to jump through a hoop to get it back.  Now, as is de rigueur with such things, I have to choose secret questions and supply secret answers to them for the next time I forget my username.  You know how this works:  you select points of personal data that no one is likely to know or be able to uncover without considerable difficulty but that you can regurgitate at any time.  This exercise quickly degenerated into absurdity for me.  There are twenty-one questions in all and I can answer two of them consistently.  I have to choose three.  The two I can answer are in the same group, so I can only select one.  Bummer.

Although some of the questions are clearly aimed at a demographic I don't represent, i.e. married sports fans with children, in aggregate they're supposed to partially define a typical contemporary American as a person.  What does it mean that I can't answer them?  I guess it means my account is extra secure because any ironically well-informed villain who knew all the answers would still be unable to bypass the questions because--double irony--he has no way of knowing the answers I made up.

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