British Expats

British Expats (https://britishexpats.com/forum/)
-   USA (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/)
-   -   Opening a bank account with an F1 visa (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/opening-bank-account-f1-visa-589997/)

md95065 Feb 8th 2009 1:29 am

Opening a bank account with an F1 visa
 
I have a friend staying with me who is going to be studying in the US and who arrived recently on an F1 visa.

We went down to Bank of America today to see if we could find anyone there who might understand how to open a bank account for him ...

Well, we actually did succeed in getting a bank account opened but only because we were persistent and because we found someone at the bank who was genuinely helpful and was prepared to take the time to figure out how to do it (which involved all three of us gathering around his computer screen and making suggestions about what to try next).

The crux of the problem lies not in B of A's policies (the guy who was helping us knew that we should be able to open the account which is why he went the extra mile to help us) but in the totally braindead computer application that they use to open new accounts.

The application displays a series of forms that the operator has to fill out - as is typical with these things it imposes a strict serial work flow and doesn't let the user move to the next screen if there are "errors" on the current screen. As is also typical, the application attempts to optimize for the most common cases (which, of course, includes being a US citizen).

Surprisingly enough, not having a social security number wasn't a problem - the problem was the "two pieces of id" which were needed to open the account - my friend had his passport complete with F1 visa, I-94 and I-20 and his shiny new student id - but the pop up menu of acceptable forms of id only listed US government issued ids ... Then I noticed that the screen said "US citizen" and said "That's the problem - you have to say that he isn't a US citizen and then it should give us the correct options" - easier said than done - it turns out that the application starts out "assuming" that it is dealing with a US citizen and doesn't allow you to change that until *after* you have provided it with two pieces of ID that a non-citizen probably wouldn't have ... It is only *after* you have entered that information that you get asked whether the applicant is a US citizen at which point you get a more sensible list of options for id that includes various types of visa etc ...

So, to get past this we basically had to pretend that he was a US citizen with a US passport in order to get to the screen that allowed us to say that he was actually a citizen of the Netherlands with an F1 visa ...

As a software engineer and occasional user interface designer I found this to be really sad but all too believable. My guess is that, at one time, the application didn't ask for the id information until later in the data entry sequence - ie *after* it knew the nationality of the applicant, but that someone decided that it would be better to ask for that information up front without realizing that the options which needed to be displayed depended on other information which had not been entered at that point.

So, anyway, it turns out that B of A aren't actually evil (at least not as far as this is concerned) but the user interface design of their internal applications really sucks ... :thumbdown:

starky Feb 8th 2009 2:16 am

Re: Opening a bank account with an F1 visa
 
A classic example of user requirmemts being added later on in the application life cycle with out proper UAT testing. When they changed the application to add the ID requirements they must not have had a big list of use cases to test with. They most likely tested with the basic default options. Very poor from an engineering point of view. BOA seem to be very good on the tech side. At least their website is very good. I bet they contracted that out! While some fool messed up on the other application.
Software engineering should be licencsed like law or medicne, I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to clean up other peoples mess! To may diy software people out there that think they can program! <rant over> :-)

Bob Feb 8th 2009 2:42 am

Re: Opening a bank account with an F1 visa
 

Originally Posted by md95065 (Post 7261839)

As a software engineer and occasional user interface designer I found this to be really sad but all too believable. My guess is that, at one time, the application didn't ask for the id information until later in the data entry sequence - ie *after* it knew the nationality of the applicant, but that someone decided that it would be better to ask for that information up front without realizing that the options which needed to be displayed depended on other information which had not been entered at that point.

It does that because when the software was written, it was only a bodged temporary measure used for some other interface testing but in the end they thought it worked well enough to tell the engineer not to bother finish it, so there is went into the system and well....it's been like that for 5 years apparently.


All times are GMT. The time now is 5:17 am.

Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.