Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thank You For Managing Your Account Online; Here Are Twelve Paper Letters Containing Your Full Account Number

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

you are approved... to suffer!!!!

Ah Monday. The return to a wonderful job after a long weekend. The joy of sharing the highway with thousands of other happy individuals. The return of the mail carrier after a heart-breaking two-day absence.

Normally Monday means a slightly heavier load of mail since it hasn’t been delivered since Saturday, but yesterday I was greeted with an obscene number of envelopes bearing those familiar logos of the likes of Capital One, Bank of America, Citibank, and various other financial institutions who want my money, my blood, and what little space remains in my recycling bin.

But yesterday was different from the usual deluge of 0% balance transfer offers and $50 for opening a checking account advertisements. There were no ads or offers in yesterday’s mail. What was there? Confirmations. Confirmations of my online internet activity. Credit line increases. Balance transfer executions. E-mail address changes. I counted 12 separate confirmation letters in all. All on paper, all in separate mailings.

I’d received similar paper mailings before, but never more than one on any given day. I have been fooling around with my various credit card and savings accounts lately, requesting larger credit lines and taking advantage of account opening bonuses and interest-free credit card loans. I guess all of that fancy online accounting converged into a single day of mailing.

But this huge batch of confirmation letters irked me in a way that no single confirmation letter has ever irked me before. I counted three separate causes for my irkyness:

  • Paper letters for online activity. Thanks to the power of the internet, I can do pretty much anything imaginable with my credit and bank accounts from the comfort of my couch. All it takes is a few mouse clicks, a couple of keystrokes, a swig of gin, and all my finances are in order. So then why must I get all these paper confirmation letters when I do something online??? I know you sometimes need 5-7 days to qualify me for that massive credit line increase, but have you ever heard of e-mail?
  • Every letter had my full account number. “Your credit line increase for account number XXXX YYYY ZZZZ WWWW has been approved.” You won’t even show my full credit card account number on your website when I’m logged in from my laptop—something nobody’s going to get their hands on in the next 10 minutes without breaking down the front door and brandishing a shotgun. But you’ll gladly plaster it all over your paper confirmation letters. Mailboxes are so easy to rob that I just robbed my neighbor’s right now while typing this sentence. Maybe if credit card issuers wouldn’t send out umpteen mailings with full customer account numbers for anyone to see and steal, there wouldn’t be so much rampant theft and fraud and pain. Just a thought. (Morons.)
  • Two separate letters for one request. Twice. This was the straw that broke my electronic camel’s back. For one credit line increase request, I got two letters: one saying “You’ve been approved for an increase to $10,000,” another saying I’ve been rejected for an increase to $20,000. I had requested the increase to $20,000; but much like a first-grader who can’t combine two thoughts into a compound sentence, Bank of Name Omitted to Protect the Stupid Bank couldn’t combine the good news and the bad news into a single letter. Similarly, another bank decided that it took two letters to confirm my e-mail address change—only the content of both letters was identical. Yay, double the chances for a mailbox thief to steal my account number!

Banks and credit card issuers be warned: If you send me another paper confirmation and I happen to paper cut myself on it, I’m going to sue you soooo much for assault with a deadly weapon. And if you don’t believe me, just check your mailbox for a confirmation letter written in myyyy blooooood.

You know, from the paper cut.

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