Friday, October 5, 2012

ECOBANK Côte d'Ivoire: Smart cards, dumb ATMs

I was in Tanzania two weeks ago.  I go to the ECOBANK to pull cash, and my card is shown as "not activated".  I go to the bank itself to ask and I was shown the new card.  The one that has a SIM card.  I come back to Abidjan and I ask, and I was told "Yes, madam, we are changing the cards, go upstairs and collect yours.

I collect a new card and something tells me to keep the old card. The agent says I need to leave it with the back and I said 'Since the card is still valid, I'd rather be the one keeping it".

This afternoon I am coming back from Cairo and slot the new card into the ECOBANK ATM at the airport, "Impossible" is what I see. I check 2 other ATMs and I get the same result.  At the third, the security man tells me "Madam, these ATMs are yet to be configured for the new cards with SIM"

I call the 22400200, which is the ECOBANK 24/7 number and nobody picks.  Friday at 4PM.  I call the second number and the man could not find an answer to the question "Why will you circulate new cards when the ATMs are yet to be configured?".  "Why did you ask people to return the older cards when they could still be used?" 

After several "errm" "errm", I decided not to bother the man anymore. 

I decide to continue to the ECOBANK headquarters in Abidjan. On the way, I start putting one to one.  ECOBAK has been putting up new ATMs. Probably, these are actually the ones that are optimized for the new smart cards. 

At the ECOBANK Côte d'Ivoire headquarters, my suspicion was confirmed. There are 2 old ATMs and 4 new ones.  I try the smart card on the old ATM and it shows "impossible".  I went over to the new ones and I pulled cash.

I get back to the car and I start asking myself questions:
  1. Why is ECOBANK circulating the smart cards BEFORE upgrading the ATMs?
  2. Why cant ECOBANK give its clients the correct information about the dumb ATMs?
  3. Why will a service provider want you to deposit a card that works when it knows that the new one only works partially?
  4. How many ECOBANK ATMs can actually work with the smart cards?
  5. What technology will it require to put up a message informing clients, on the screen of EACH ATM, which cards it will accept, pending the time when cards and ATMs will be harmonized?
I have more questions.. but let me stop for now

1 comment:

Ayyahh Gaou said...

J'imagine l'énervement, moi j'aurais pété un cable en face du premier agent de la banque pfff