Friday, April 13, 2007


ATM programming revisited

Back in February, I posted about an annoyance with the way my bank's ATM was programmed. At the time, commenter Ilari said that at his bank in Finland, the bank saves the user's language preference, so once the card is inserted there's no need to prompt the user.

Well, the consumer-account business of Bank of Your State has been bought by BorgBank, and since February the ATMs at the former Bank of Your State branch offices have been replaced with BorgBank machines. And there's a difference. For one thing, the item I complained about has been fixed: the new ATM does not prompt me unnecessarily to select an account, as I only have one. Yay!

But for another thing, the user's language preference can optionally be stored, as Ilari described. It will also store (also optionally) two other preferences: whether or not I want a receipt printed (always, never, or ask me every time), and a dollar amount to associate with a “quick cash” selection. If I set that last preference, a “Get Quick Cash” button appears on the screen after I enter my PIN, and I can just touch that, grab my money (and receipt), and go. Very nice. So far, assimilation doesn't seem bad at all.

And yesterday I got the new BorgBank ATM card in the mail. It comes with a sticker on it that says this:

For your protection, this card cannot be used until it has been activated.
To activate your card, perform any ATM transaction using your PIN.
In other words, I can't use the card until it's been activated, and to activate the card I should... use it. Hmmmmmmm.

[Actually, that's not as stupid as it sounds: the card is also a debit card, and the sticker is telling me that it can't be used as a debit card until I've used it in an ATM first. The wording just struck me as amusingly loopy, that's all.]

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