Drawbacks of Online Banking

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It was 9 pm on a Friday night. My physician-client and I decided to continue our business discussions over dinner. It was time for my monthly Consulting Administrator paycheck.

He had three checking accounts. He had checks for two in the office. He is a computer whiz, even builds them. I'm a believer in paper back up for everything—something he always teases me about.

He didn’t remember his balances and went online to see if he could write the check from a certain account. He had set up several automatic withdrawals from it and was not sure if they were taken out.

We were tired and chatting as he logged on. He could not get into his account. He thought he used the wrong password. He tried again and failed. When he tried the third time, I saw the notice on the screen that the bank now required its customers to change their password every three weeks. He entered the change, but the computer wouldn’t accept it and barred another attempt.

The checks and bank statements went directly to his accountant, so we had no telephone number to call for the balance. There was no 800-number on the web site, because the bank was implementing a totally computerized system.

What to do? He wrote me a check from his personal account. He knew to the penny what he had there.

Lesson: Computers are fabulous and fickle. Paper back up hedges your bet.

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