Monday, September 24, 2012

US Bank's Pay-a-Person

US Bank has a new-ish service called "Pay-a-Person".  Using this service, a US Bank customer can transfer money to another US Bank customer without any fees or extra charges.

Leaving aside the ridiculous name, this sounds great, right?

...Right...  ...

Well I finally had the opportunity to give this service a try.  Someone send me money using 

When someone pays you with this service, you receive an email, sent to the address entered by the payer.  The email contains a transaction number and directions to go to the website "".

By the way, that is just how it appears in the email.

It doesn't say "http://" and it's not a link, it's just bold.

So anyway, I loaded up the ZashPay website, and what greeted me was my first hint that this would not be going well.

This is the ZashPay website in the current version of the Chrome browser.  There are two text entry areas, but the first one is locked, you can't type in it.  The button doesn't work.  And you can only enter some limited number of characters in the second text area.

But my personal favorite on this page are the tiny bits of a couple characters up in the upper right corner.  That's a nice touch.

Note to the chimps at ZashPay...

Dear Chimps at ZashPay,
This is 2012.  It is not 2000.  It is also not 2001, nor 2002.  Nor is it 1999.  If your web developer says it's hard to create something that work in any remotely contemporary browser, get a different team.  Hint: tell them to use HTML.  It works quite well.
Sincerely, Chimp

So I loaded up the ZashPay website in Firefox.  This worked.  I entered my email address and the transaction number from the email.  I then was presented with three choices; 1) sign in with an existing account, 2) create a new account, which requires my bank routing and account numbers, or an option specifying that I am a using with my financial institution.

Well option one was out clearly.  Option two is a possibility, but I do not have a blank check with me (did I mention it is 2012?  Yes?  OK, good, just "checking").  Option three seems right, so I checked that one.

ZashPay then presented me with a simple message stating that I should go to the website of my financial institution.  Fair enough, ZashPay, fair enough...

Next stop, US Bank's website, which actually has a pretty good track record.  I use it quite a lot.  Sure enough in the Bill Pay section, I find a Pay-a-Person link that allows for claiming money.  So far so good, except for the silly name for this service.  Why does it even need a name?  Seriously?

I was presented with a nicely formatted dialog allowing me to enter the email address the payment was sent to, and the transaction number.  On enthusiasticly clicking the attractively, but tastfully, colored button, I was presented with this:

Reference Id: ls18*2012-09-24-10:58:41:361*Thread:32-418530
Please try again later.


Update: See the a following on this still unfolding tale here.