I don’t know how they do it in other places, but in New Zealand bank accounts have numbers like this: xx-yyyy-zzzzzzz-00. See that 2-digit suffix in the top part of the screenshot? The suffix may be 50 or 00 or maybe 51 or some other two-digit number. That’s the number the bank issues when you open an account.
Now let’s whizz along to actually using that number, say in sending payment to someone. Now the bank requires 3 digits, as in the lower part of the top screenshot. Here’s a screenshot of the major part of the actual FastCheque form (click for a larger version):
As you can see, the bank provides a drop-down of the eligible accounts, each with its 2-digit suffix, but requests a 3-digit suffix for the recipient account.
When I made a payment the other day I was tired and added the secret extra 0 after the 2-digit suffix. I was able to go through the whole process, as far as being charged the 25 cents NetCode fee, receiving the secret authentication code on my cellphone and entering it into the web page.
But when I clicked the OK button I was presented with this illuminating error message:
Transaction cannot be completed at this time, FN , WDL, 34.
“At this time …” — so does that mean it will be completed later? And what the heck was the problem?
That prompted an email from me to them, to which I received this canned response:
Thank you for your email regarding a (FN WDL 34)error message.
From the error message you have received, it appears that there is an
error in the payee’s account number or the way the account number has
Well, why couldn’t they have said that in their darned error message? Why couldn’t they have told me on the page to add the secret 0 before the suffix? Why couldn’t they add in the 0 themselves on the form?
And an even bigger question: if half of a bank’s activities require 3 digits, why don’t they just assign 3 digits in the first place.