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Online Marketing and Passwords – America First Credit Union

I have never ever ever ever [and another ‘ever’!] understood why technology security freaks always win this battle: forcing website users to create custom passwords that are virtually impossible to remember. You may wonder what this has to do with internet marketing? well its pretty simple actually – if you force users to create passwords they will not remember they will become very frustrated. If there is anyone who reads this who has never had to request a new password from an online website they have some sort of membership at I would be very surprised! Please post a comment if you fall into this category. In the end you will read how all this came about from an experience with my online banking from America First Credit Union. This IS a website usability issue, and anyone who says otherwise I would welcome the challenging arguments.

Here are the main reasons why this is a very stupid idea:

1. “Create a password that has at least one lower case letter, one upper case, in between 6 and 8 characters long, has one and only one special character except for ‘*’ and does not contain your name” – well that doesn’t leave much room for creativity does it? I hate it when I read things like this because even after reading it and trying to meet all the requirements it literally takes me about 4 to 5 tries before I get a password that it will accept, and by then its one I am sure I will never remember.

2. The password you end up with is something you would not have normally chosen and contains characters that you will never remember. This creates the issue of you having to write your password down somewhere on a piece of paper with the website it is associated with – far much a greater danger of losing that piece of paper that someone could easily use than a hacker trying to guess your password!

3. “You must reset your password every 30 days” – totally retarded! This simply creates a situation where you have to call support every time you want to login to the website because you never remember the password you chose for that month.

4. “Don’t try to tell me what to do, I’ll do it how I want to!” – Teling users what to do online is a bad idea as it insults their intelligence and makes them very upset. The internet is one aspect of life where most website goers feel totally in control and hate it when they lose that power. In the end it is the website user who loses out if their online access compromised. I am the one that must pay the price if I do chose a password that is easy to guess, let me take that responsibilty of choosing a password that is hard to remember, not forcing me to choose a password that is not only hard for a hacker to guess but hard for ME to remember as well!

So this blog post was spurred this morning because I logged into my bank account, America First Credit Union in Utah, and it forces me to answer special questions I setup about a year ago if I login from another computer other than my home one. Of course I had no idea what answers I had put in so it blocked my access. “who is your best friend?” – well I don’t really have a ‘best’ friend, just lots of ‘equal’ friends, what type of dumb question is that, it may have worked well when I was in elementary school. ‘What was your first car’ – well I know that one, an ’89 buick skyhawk, or was it a ‘skyhawk’ or a ‘buick skyhawk’? no, I think it was ‘Skyhawk’? – idiots, how are you supposed to remember what you typed in even if you know the answer and on top of that I am pretty sure it was case sensitive.

As you can tell I was very upset, but it didn’t end there. In order to restore my access they started asking me my address and such, I tell them my zip code which is ‘84045’ and they say on their system its ‘84043’, so I tell them ’43’ is for a neighboring city in Utah called ‘Lehi’ and that my city, ‘Saratoga Springs’, just got a new zip code a year ago. They say it won’t accept my new zip code – ok so you are telling me even though I know my own zip code that its wrong and you can’t use it – again the idiots come out!

So by the time I get access I am pretty frustrated already, I am actually thinking of switching from America First Credit Union and moving over to Washington Mutual where my business bank accounts are, they just seem so much more user friendly and technology/online usability friendly as well. I have had far less issues with their online banking system then America First Credit Union.

Article Provided By:
Adaptivity Pro Web Design
Salt Lake City Utah
P.O. Box 951049
South Jordan, UT
o: 801-512-2006