SOUTH AFRICAN BANK MUM ON INTERNET TROUBLES

Internet

Standard Bank has still not formally explained glitches with its recent upgrade of its Internet banking interface. Consumers complain the site does not work with Firefox and Safari browsers.

Others complain the bank's terms and conditions transfer the risk of the transaction entirely to the consumer and that the deletion of an on-screen touchpad has reduced the site's security. Attempts to solicit answers from the bank met with several days of delay, with none forthcoming last week.

The bank last week said the problem with Safari and Firefox was the first of its kind in 10 years of Internet banking. It added the problem would be solved by tomorrow. It also pointed out to columnist Samantha Perry that less than 1% of its user base uses browsers like Firefox and Safari.

A reader complains Standard Bank has shifted all risk in doing electronic banking to the consumer. The reader says he was required to accept an agreement before entering the site. A bank spokesman earlier this week said there was no such requirement and a visit to the site this morning confirmed that no agreement had to be acceded to before entering. However, the clause that concerned the reader was found in the bank's electronic banking agreement, which has apparently been in place, without amendment, since June 2002.

Paragraph eight reads: “We will act on instructions that appear to have been sent by you. Use of a communication system means we do not interact face-to-face. Unless you notify us before we give effect to an instruction, you authorise us to rely on and perform all instructions that appear to originate from you (even if someone else is impersonating you).”

The reader complains the clause amounts to an abdication of responsibility on the part of the bank. “How does it impact consumer rights? Also, in terms of the FICA [Financial Intelligence Centre Act] regulations, the bank has a responsibility to identify customers. Is their statement not in conflict with this?” The bank was asked to answer these questions, but had not done so by the time of publication.

ITWeb