How to lose a client with a simple form

Banks in Poland are fully embracing the power of technology. You can open a new bank account, take a loan or do lots of other things without leaving home. You don’t need to send a photocopy of your ID or passport, so your personal data is safe. All you need to confirm your identity is an existing bank account.

The system is based on trust. One bank trusts the other that they checked your documents when you opened the first account. So all you have to do now is to fill in the form online, then make a small payment (~30 cents) to a given account. That transfer is used for confirmation of your identity and then money is returned. The bank checks personal details, including your address, date of birth, etc.

That’s really brilliant. I’ve used this system a few times before and it worked like a charm.

But not this time.

I come from a small village. Streets in my lovely village don’t have names. My village doesn’t have its own post code. That’s common in Poland. The national post has closed many branches a few years ago. We use post code of a nearby town, just like other villages in the area.

Depending on the design of a particular form the name of my village becomes “Street”, “City” or “Name of the place”. The name of the town with the postcode is either “City” or “Post”.

About ~40% Polish people live in villages, so I’m not alone. Yet, it seems like many IT specialists have no idea about all of this. Maybe they all live in cities.

Found on Flickr

About a week ago I decided to exchange currency using an online platform. I filled the form to open the account. But my identity can’t be confirmed.

Even though I provided the same values as for my other account, they are in different fields. Because of how the forms were designed I couldn’t possibly fill them in the same way.

I understand it, help-desk people understand it, but system doesn’t. Apparently, humans can’t override the automatic match. Probably that’s some super-duper-smarter-than-human security policy. Oh, did I mention both services (online banking and currency exchange) are provided by the same company?

I’ve been trying to untangle this mess for the last week and lost hope. I switched to their competitors.

All their wonderful support people couldn’t make up for the wrong model. For a stupid address. I wonder how much money they’ve lost by this.

How is address represented in your model? Would this model work for me?

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