Category Archives: Banking

Amritsar trip – ended with a joke by almighty

It was a weekday late evening in December 2011, my family was sat together after supper, just chit chatting and laughing. We, casually celebrated year 2011 as year of tourism, with many trips and vacations! I just asked if there is one more plan to celebrate the year and so quickly we decided to book tickets for Amritsar for January 2012. Me and my brother finished travel booking on the very same day after tentative planning!!

With some words of mouth, we got to know that Sarai is right and clean place to stay. With my uncle’s reference, we also managed to get booking at one of Sarai.

This started executing on 13th late night with train to Amritsar at early morning on 14th. It was general cold, as expected throughout the root. By the time we were reaching destination, we already saw glimpses of rainy weather. And it was indeed raining in Amritsar. We reached on 15th morning with 2 hours delay from schedule.

The very same day, just after dropping our bags at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Yatri Niwas – Sarai and little relaxation, we thought to have quick visit to the Golden Temple. It was Sunday and so was pretty crowded, of course moving ahead in well discipline. We decide to visit the temple and pray very next day in early morning. We only did a circular walk in the temple campus and moved for lunch. With quickly finishing lunch, we booked a taxi and by the time driver came with his car, we made a not-so-in-hurry visit to Jaliawalla Baugh.

With light rain, we moved towards Atari, border and junction to Pakistan. It is itsa kind of experience to see flag lowering ceremony live!

By evening, we returned to Amritsar. Before going for dinner, thought to check for woolen specialities and winter wear. We checked in Oswals and almost completed shopping!!! After decent shopping experience, went for dinner and finished with sweet hot Gulab Jamun! It was bit exhaustive day since we did not spend much time for rest or sleep and so we went straight back to Sarai.
We adjusted our beds and all were just relaxing. Suddenly daddy thought to have a bottle of water (in Sarai, everything is self serviced!). And he went downstairs.

We were completely unaware, but this was beginning of gloomy side of our trip…

He did not return in half an hour. We were just bit serious and thought to start his search. Very soon, a person shouting if somebody’s on floor, came around and he was shouting an ‘unknown’ person fell down. Without thinking anything we rushed to ground floor and found him laid down on a bench. The Sarai authorities had already called up ambulance and also informed the ‘uncle’s reference’ about this man! We immediately rushed to Shri Guru Ramdas Hospital by the ambulance. Doctors did EEG and gave immediate report – what I cannot believe, hear or even listen. Dad left me, us and all wondering…..! 🙁

It is very hard to write in words, what happened further.

Uncle’s reference was none but Iqubal Singh, branch manager of Vijaya Bank, Amritsar. He reached to hospital, with almost shocked, unaware of final verdict. Knowing the situation, the gentleman and lady (aunty) gave immediate support and were the host to arrange our night stay at their warm home.

What happened next is again difficult to write in one go, shall add it to the post after gaining some energy.

Many of photos taken by dad are here.

AXIS Bank website & services – reviews & suggestions

www.axisbank.com is official website of AXIS (formerly UTI Bank). The bank brands their Internet enabled services as iConnect. I eventually came through and accessed the website some time back.

Here is what I felt…

  • The website is simple, and belongs to the professional look. However according to the footnote, it’s friendly with IE only. Where did firefox & safari go?

    Home Page

    Home Page

  • The login window does not have virtual keyboard which is very important shield to fraud cases, when user keystrokes are being recorded. ICICI Bank and Bank of India provides this.

    Virtual Keyboard

    Virtual Keyboard

  • In any case, the script should be written so that browser cannot store username and / or password even if user forces. Again, ICICI Bank takes care of this. Disabling ctrl + C & ctrl + V is added advantage, that can be provided!

    Storing private data

    Storing private data

  • Once user successfully logs in, welcome page has menu bar on left. But, again, a usability suggestion When user selects anything from drop right menu (menu to be displayed after selecting main menu item) item, it should be closed. It gets hidden only when user mouse focus is lost! So few user might not feel, whether he / she has clicked to menu item or not.

    Drop Right Menu

    Drop Right Menu

  • Account bifurcation is simply good.

  • The eMail section is not so good. The email text is given less importance in user interface design. The eMail body text is shown in 8 or 9 lines only, user need the help of scrollbars. Better UI design is required.

    eMail Section

    eMail Section

  • Mobile banking service can only be enabled, there is no option to either disable or change number! The Input Area to mention mobile number is non editable! Also, the bank is charging for this services a sum of amount which is higher compared to its accuracy and conditions for SMS alerts etc.

    Mobile Banking - no second chance

    Mobile Banking - no second chance

  • Session management seems handled with respect to time & browser activities such as back and forward button clicks, which is good way to prevent misuse. However, if you click multiple menu items before the respective page being actually loaded, the last clicked item will load, and session will not be lost – this seems unusual!

These points are just to save the bank from future online fraud and legal procedures. Banks have always been soft target of attackers.

This bank belongs India’s one of the well reputed and old established and recently converted to private bank. Of course, banking services are poorer than an Indian nationalise (so called Government!!! :P) bank, charges are like normal private bank!

Few highlights of the banks’ unprofessional approach!

  • Irregular & sometimes irrelevant response.

  • Rare response to queries / request via authentic emails.

  • SMS server is less dependable in terms of timely delivery or acknowledgment to request SMSes. No error message for wrong SMS / inappropriate SMS sent to the bank!

  • Response from bank via email lacks proper formation of text. Just ctrl+C and ctrl+V.

By the time I am posting this, I received one simple screenshot of a duplicate website of ICIC Bank via alert email.

This is not ICICI Bank's official website - beware before you log in!

This is not ICICI Bank's official website - beware before you log in!

Security tips – mostly generic for all banks.

  • Never give your PIN, Card No., Internet banking username, passwords (login and transaction), etc. to anybody.
  • Changing login & transaction password regularly is good practise.
  • Never keep login and transaction password similar.
  • Keep an eye over URL of bank’s login page. It must be the bank’s original one. Someone may easily prank you by similar name. (as shown in ICICI Bank’s duplicate site – above)
  • No bank asks for whole 16 digit debit card number especially for any online purchase. It might ask very few randomly selected numbers for authentication, which is acceptable. ICICI Bank has introduced GRID Card which is really unique and addition to its security features.
  • In most cases, user ID will be required to log in, no account number or card number will help.
  • Avoid accessing net banking like services from public / shared computer.
  • Use virtual keyboard, on screen keyboard etc. utilities to enter username / password or any confidential information, especially if accessing website from someone else’s computer. In short avoide keystrokes, use mouse clicks!!
  • Last but not least, clear all URL, access history, form details from Browser Settings when you are done.
  • Close browser. All instances / tabs of the browser, if multiple are running.
  • And yet many more…. that you can contribute by comments. 🙂 Thanks in advance.
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