Process failures – Amex Direct Debit

09Jun09

I recently got myself a shiney new BA Amex card, as I’ve been told by a few people that the companion vouchers you can get from these are a great perk.

I try to be responsible with my money, and so I like to pay off each card in full by direct debit each month. I just went onto the Amex web site to set this up, and got asked a bunch of stuff that they already know – typical security validation questions. I also had to check a box accepting some terms and conditions. What I expected to see next was a web form where I could enter my bank account details and that would be that – job done. What I got next was a link to download a PDF. They didn’t even customise the PDF with any of the data that they already know about me.

It really looks like somebody started building an application to do this properly on the web, and then thought it was too much trouble – let’s just give them a link to the paper form. A waste of my time, and presumably theirs – it can’t be cheap having a FREEPOST address, people to open envelopes and rekey data etc.

At no stage was I asked whether I want to pay the minimum or whole balance each month, so I expect there’s a call to customer services waiting to happen in the next week or so.

PS I never have seen direct debit done properly on the web. Maybe there’s something more fundamentally broken about the whole system. But if the best that can be done is a link to a PDF then please don’t mess about with Ts&Cs and security questions.



2 Responses to “Process failures – Amex Direct Debit”

  1. 1 Eric E

    Hmm… I have an Amex card through Costco and it has the ability to automatically pay my minimum balance, or I can go in and manually pay my balance (no option to pay the balance in full automatically).

    I was able to enter my banking information electronically too – no PDF’s or paper forms required.

    This was through American Express’s own web site – are you using their web site or one providing by an issuing bank? If the later, perhaps it’s time to get a better bank :)

    • 2 Chris Swan

      This issue was with the Amex web site, though in the UK, so maybe they’re having some localisation issues.

      There is a working facility for me to pay my balance manually each month by electronic transfer. My problem was around setting up a Direct Debit, which is a type of bank instruction that I’m not sure exists in the US


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