Random Thoughts by Fabien Penso

HSBC Secure Key

Recently HSBC forced all its French customers to use a Secure Key system, either through a dedicated box, or through an iPhone application. The purpose of the system is to make your bank account safer.

It sure will be as you either won’t be able to connect to your bank account anymore, or not wanting to connect to it. Thank you HSBC!

How does it go with Secure Key ?

You select the iPhone application, activate your device (a pain in the a** but as least you do that only once), and every time you want to login on your account to see your bank details, you must:

  1. Enter your Internet ID on their webpage (11 digits)
  2. Answer a security answer
  3. Take your iPhone
  4. Enter your Internet ID on the phone (11 digits)
  5. Enter a specific code on the device (can’t be the same code, about 8 to 10 chars I think)
  6. Enter the temporary code displayed on the iPhone on the computer

That’s where you go WHAT THE FUCK. Every single time you want to see your bank details, that’s 6 steps. Not to say if you’re living in the UK but want to connect to your French bank account you must download the app from the French AppStore, which you might not have an account on as you’re using the British one. You’re the lucky winner.

Replacing your device

I happened to get my device replaced by the Apple Store, and that goes BOOM for HSBC. Starting the application on my new iPhone says something like “Enter a code from your previous device”.

But I don’t have my old iPhone anymore… That’s when I decided to call customer support. The HSBC guy said:

“You should have unactivated your account within the HSBC app from your old iPhone before giving it back to Apple.1

—HSBC Customer support

He told me not to worry, he was sending me a new code to connect. I was expecting it by SMS. It’s delivered by regular mail within 48 hours. WTF.

He said I should then choose the dedicated box instead of the iPhone, that’s another 10 days delay. WTF.

Here I am, not being able to check my bank details for a few days when I need it, because I got my iPhone replaced. Now let me tell you I’m quite worried about traveling for a few months abroad.

Worst experience ever2. Mint, please come to Europe.

I wish I could have contacted HSBC about this, but their French branch lists no details about Twitter, Facebook or any social networks. The customer support over the phone doesn’t look like it will escalate my complaints neither. If you do have issues with HSBC I suggest tagging #HSBC and maybe one day, they’ll read it.

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Thanks for reading.

  1. Of course I should have had unactivated all 100 apps I use on my phone… Stupid me. 

  2. HSBC online experience was good enough before.